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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Tampa Bay Rays and Orlando Magic sideline reporter cut loose for racist remarks

Emily Austen, a Fox Sports Florida and Fox Sports Sun sideline reporter who covers the Tampa Bay Rays and Orlando Magic, has been taken off the air after making derogatory, racist and anti-Semitic remarks on Barstool Sports’ “Rundown” show this week.

Austen, a 27-year-old Tampa native, disparaged Mexican, Chinese and Jewish people, as well as Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, on the daily show broadcast on Facebook Live on Thursday. It no longer appears on the site or its Facebook page, but it is visible on several websites and on Vimeo.

Asked about a high school valedictorian who had bragged on Twitter about being an undocumented immigrant, she said: “I didn’t even know Mexicans were that smart. . . .That’s f—- up. I didn’t mean it like that. You see, you guys know that the Chinese guy is always the smartest guy in math class.”

Austen talked about working as a server in Boca Raton, Fla., and wasn’t pleased with some of her customers. “The way I used to talk to the Jews in Boca. . . . I just didn’t care. They would complain and b— about everything. I gave a guy, delivered his beer, and he was complaining to me that there was too much head. I knew that he was a stingy a—- and he wasn’t going to give me a tip.”

The Cavs’ Love, who missed Game 3 of the NBA Finals with a concussion, isn’t very popular with her, either. “I think Kevin Love is a little b—. . . . I’m just saying, in general, he’s a little b— because even when he doesn’t have concussion. I’m not saying he’s a little b— because he didn’t play because he had a concussion. Because he can’t play. I’m just not a fan, and he’s such a diva.”

Austen’s remarks were so inflammatory that host Dan Katz joked at the end of the show: “We might have to hire you because you’re gonna get fired.” Early Friday morning, Fox Sports Florida said that Austen was “not scheduled to appear” on any upcoming broadcasts.

“We were made aware that Emily Austen appeared in a social media video unaffiliated with FOX Sports in which she made insensitive and derogatory comments. She was not speaking on behalf of Fox Sports, nor do we condone any of the statements she made in the video,” Steve Tello, the network’s senior vice president, said in a statement (via the Tampa Bay Times). “Emily has been advised that her comments were unacceptable, and she is not scheduled to appear on any upcoming Fox Sports Florida or Fox Sports Sun broadcasts.”

Austen hosted “Inside the Rays” and other shows as a contract employee paid per event, according to the Times. “The Rays fully support Fox Sport Sun’s decision regarding Emily Austen,” the team told The Times in a statement. She is not employed by the team.

Dave Portnoy, Barstool’s “El Presidente” and founder who also appeared in the Facebook Live feed, explained Friday that the video was taken down because “we’re not in the business of getting in trouble.” The site, he said, doesn’t intentionally post things to try to get people fired. “We protect our guests.”

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