Longtime 11Alive reporter Valerie Hoff says she’s “still processing” what happened last month that led to her resignation last week, after 18 years with the Atlanta NBC affiliate.
“I immediately regretted quoting that man’s tweet back to him and immediately apologized, but I knew there would be repercussions,” Hoff told TVSpy.
On April 13, Hoff was working on a story about a second police officer who had been fired after video captured them punching a motorist. While searching social media she spotted video from the Twitter user @CurtFromDaBlock and engaged in a conversation about trying to obtain the video. She began the personal messages, which first appeared on AJC.com (screenshots below).
“My intentions were good but the execution was flat out wrong,” Hoff told us. “I was trying to expose two white police officers who were beating a presumably innocent black man, I used the owner of the video’s own language back to him in a private tweet. It was wrong. I should not have used the word. Period.”
After the exchange went public, the station suspended Hoff for two weeks.
“I was happy to agree to a two week suspension at first,” she told us. “It was an extremely difficult, stressful time but I got so much support from co-workers and Management, I was ready to go back. The day I was scheduled to return to work, I was asked to resign because the story was starting to leak to the news media.”
“11Alive does not tolerate any form of racial insensitivity and aggressively enforces our standard policies,” said WXIA general manager John Deushane in a statement. “Valerie Hoff has chosen to resign and apologizes for her actions. 11Alive is committed to treating the communities we serve with dignity and respect.”
“While I can’t say I’m surprised, I’m disappointed that after 18 years of stellar reviews and yearly pay increases it has come to this,” Hoff said. “I am, however, overwhelmed with the amount of support I’ve received.
People make mistakes. And it seems that most people are willing to forgive and move on,” she said.