Nearly three weeks after CNN severed ties with author and activist Marc Lamont Hill, the former contributor to the network addressed the remarks that cost him his job.
Hill opened up about the comments which landed him in hot water with the news channel during an appearance on The Breakfast Club Friday morning.
While addressing the United States Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Hill encouraged countries to boycott and divest from Israel, according to The Associated Press.
"We have an opportunity to not just offer solidarity in words but to commit to political action, grassroots action, local action and international action that will give us what justice requires and that is a free Palestine from the river to the sea," Hill said in his lecture.
Speaking to co-host Angela Yee, Hill described the phone call he received from CNN the following day in response to his speech.
"The next morning I got a call from CNN. And they said that the speech was not in line with their values," the 40-year-old explained.
When he asked which part of the address, in particular, Hill said CNN couldn't answer the question.
"It was just the whole speech," he recalled.
Facing an outcry from pro-Israel groups, CNN decided to relieve Hill of his duties on November 29.
The Temple University professor hinted the "from the river to the sea" remark is likely what set off alarms. He said the comment could be "interpreted as a call to destroy the state of Israel."
However, Hill did not intend to incite violence. He said he meant the opposite; he wants Palestine to be free.
Hill added that he does not wish any harm to the Jewish community. When asked whether he was surprised that CNN decided to part ways with its former commentator, the Philadelphia native said he was taken aback.
But his job as a professor of media studies at Temple remains secured.
"They released a statement yesterday that they won't be firing me, which was dope," Hill continued. "I'm a tenured professor, so I can't be fired. I am literally the highest-ranking professor at Temple University. But they decided to make it a conversation. They were trying to say it was hate speech. Everyone – Democrat, Republican, everyone – has said 'river to the sea.'"
In the statement, the university said Hill is entitled to free speech and doesn't have a history of anti-Semitism.
"We recognize that professor Hill's comments are his own, that his speech as a private individual is entitled to the same constitutional protection of any other citizen," a Temple spokesperson said. "And that he has through subsequent statements expressly rejected anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic violence."
In the interview, Hill also noted the importance of taking a stand.
"I stand in solidarity with Palestinian people. I also stand against anti-Semitism," he declared. "Those aren't competing claims. You can love Jewish people and say that Jewish lives are not worth more than Palestinian lives. That Israeli lives are not worth more than Palestinian lives."
Hill also said he doesn't plan on pursuing legal action against the network.
"I just got my house remodeled," Hill said.
Co-host Charlemagne Tha God interjected by saying the gig likely wasn't padding his pockets.
"Man, I'm trying to build a case," Hill added in jest. "You f**king my case up. My children are hungry!"