A freelance photographer who has been working with the NBA for several years has been kicked out of the league’s Orlando “bubble” after he was called out for re-sharing an offensive meme about Joe Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris on his Facebook page.
The incident took place a couple of days ago, when freelancer Bill Baptist posted an offensive meme that takes aim at US Senator and presumptive Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris. Biden announced Harris as his running mate earlier this week, and the offensive graphic–which reads “Joe and the Hoe”– had been spreading on social media ever since.
That’s where Baptist found it and chose to share it to his own FB page, where it was spotted and called out by former WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes.
“So this guy works for the NBA but covers the Houston Rockets. Has been around for a while. Even worked for the Houston Comets,” wrote Swoopes. “It’s amazing how people will smile in your face but eventually their true colors will show. @NBA and Houston Rockets he needs to GO!!! So disrespectful. Bill Baptiste [sic] shame on you!!!”
Swoopes’ post–which has been shared nearly 1,000 times–caught the eye of local news station KPRC 2, and then the national media. Shortly thereafter, the NBA took action, telling the local news station that Baptist is actually “an independent contractor” and announcing that “his services are no longer being used in Orlando.”
As for Baptist, he’s issued a public apology, telling KPRC that the post was a “horrible mistake” and has been taken down.
“I deeply regret posting on my facebook page a phrase that I saw and copied from others as a sample of some people’s reactions to Biden’s selection of Senator Harris as his choice for VP. The phrase I posted does not reflect my personal views at all,” said the photographer. “I sincerely apologize to all of those who have rightfully been offended […] it was a horrible mistake on my part.”
Image credits: Header photo by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0