June 8, 2024

Ex-Aide To Bernie Sanders Dismissed from The Hill After Controversial Interview

Briahna Joy Gray, known for her role as a former press secretary to Sen. Bernie Sanders and a contributor to The Hill's program Rising, has been dismissed following her contentious remarks about Israel.

Gray's termination by Nexstar Media Group marks a crucial development amidst ongoing discussions about her controversial statements regarding Israeli women and Hamas, as Fox News reports.

 Gray’s Career and Recent Controversy

Gray gained prominence as the press secretary for Bernie Sanders. Following her stint in politics, she joined Rising, a web series under The Hill's banner, where she continued to influence public discourse. Her role at The Hill has been under scrutiny for nearly a year due to a series of anti-Israel comments she made since the Israel-Hamas conflict began in October.

The most recent controversy escalated with a social media post and a public television appearance where Gray dismissed allegations of sexual violence perpetrated by Hamas against Israeli women during the hostilities. These comments sparked widespread criticism and calls for her removal from the media platform.

Adding to the controversy, Gray's reaction during an interview further fueled the backlash when she was seen rolling her eyes in response to Yarden Gonen, who pleaded with her to acknowledge the women’s accounts of harm by Hamas.

The Turning Point: Viral Clip and Public Response

A pivotal moment in this narrative was when a clip of Gray’s dismissive reaction went viral, leading to heightened public and professional scrutiny. Gonen, the sister of a Hamas hostage, implored Gray on television, saying, “I really hope that you specifically will believe women when they say that they got hurt.” This interaction did not sit well with viewers and critics alike.

Following this incident and her post on X denying the validity of rape accounts, public figures, and social media users expressed strong objections to Gray’s stance. Critics like Michael Rapaport and conservative commentator Pradheep Shankar expressed satisfaction over her firing, highlighting a broader discontent with her approach to sensitive geopolitical issues.

Gray addressed her firing and the circumstances surrounding it with a statement on X, hinting at the suppression of speech critical of Israel at The Hill, which she believed was a pattern following the firing of a colleague earlier under similar circumstances.

Nexstar Media Group Officially Ends Association

The culmination of these events led to Nexstar Media Group, the owner of The Hill, officially terminating Gray's contract. This decision was confirmed through her public share of the notice she received, which directly pointed to the repeated controversies as the reason for her dismissal.

Gray's firing underscores a growing intolerance for what many see as anti-Semitic viewpoints in the media, particularly in relation to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. Nexstar’s stance has been perceived as a firm action against not only anti-Israel sentiment but also against what is viewed by some as broader issues of integrity and professional conduct in journalism.

Community and Professional Reactions to Gray's Firing

The community and professional reactions varied, with some applauding Nexstar's decision while others criticized it as a suppression of free speech. Rebecca Downs from noted that the termination should have happened sooner, particularly given the gravity of the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks and Gray's perceived lack of sympathy for the victims.

Further critical comments from figures like Dave Rubin and attorney Damin Toell highlighted a broad dissatisfaction with Gray's recent media conduct, often describing it in harsh terms. Their reactions signify a strong consensus among certain sections of the public and media professionals regarding accountability in journalism.


To summarize, Briahna Joy Gray's tenure at The Hill has been brought to an end due to her controversial views and public statements on the Israeli-Hamas conflict, particularly those dismissing the sexual assault allegations made by Israeli women against Hamas.

Her dismissal followed significant public outcry and marked a critical point in the ongoing debate about media responsibility and free speech in geopolitical conflict reporting.

Nexstar Media Group’s action signals a clear stance against what it deems as anti-Semitic commentary, aligning with broader media accountability movements.

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