Former CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill called radical Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan "my brother" in a new interview and said it was a double standard to demand African Americans distance themselves from him.
In an appearance Friday on the popular radio show "The Breakfast Club," Hill recounted the online furor over a photo surfacing of him and Farrakhan together online. Farrakhan, a black nationalist, has made numerous homophobic, racist, and anti-Semitic remarks, and the Nation of Islam has been classified by the left-wing nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.
"You can love the minister but not like something that the minister says," host Charlamagne Tha God said.
"There is this weird litmus test that gets applied to Farrakhan, and Farrakhan only, which is problematic," Hill said. "Do I have disagreements with the minister? Absolutely."
Hill said they discussed their differences, including what constitutes anti-Semitism and "what the boundaries are," but he complained that if people meet with Farrakhan and "don't throw him away wholesale," they get castigated. Hill, who used to be a Fox News contributor, said he didn't get similar treatment for sitting with conservatives like Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter.
"I'm not comparing Farrakhan to them, except to say if you think they're extremists—well I think they're extreme!" he said. "Why is only one set of people untouchable? And why does every black leader have to ritually denounce Farrakhan in order to sustain a position?"
"That's real," Charlamagne said.
"That doesn't happen to anybody else. Again, Minister Farrakhan is my brother," he said. "We don't agree on some issues."
Hill, a professor at Temple University, also discussed his recent firing from CNN as a commentator, following remarks he made at the United Nations last month.
Hill defended Palestinian violence, saying nonviolence shouldn't be fetishized and also calling for a "free Palestine from the river to the sea." The latter is a phrase employed by Palestinian nationalists and terrorists, but Hill has denied he was calling for Israel's destruction. Rather, he said, he was calling for a single, secular state where Arabs and Jews lived together with equal rights.
CNN dropped Hill as a contributor following his remarks because they weren't in line with CNN's values, but he told "The Breakfast Club" the network didn't make clear to him what aspect of his speech was objectionable.
Hill has accused Israel of poisoning Palestinian water and supports the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which the the Anti-Defamation League condemns as a deceitful effort to delegitimize the Jewish state and promote anti-Semitism.