Female Reporter Alleges Charles Barkley Told Her 'I Don't Hit Women, But if I Did I'd Hit You'
Alexi McCammond of Axios claimed that Charles Barkley threatened her with violence when she asked a politics-related question
NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley is being accused by a female reporter of threatening her during an interview Tuesday night.
Alexi McCammond, a political reporter for Axios, alleged on Twitter that Barkley, 56, threatened to hit her after she asked him a question about supporting Democratic primary contenders Pete Buttigieg and Duval Patrick, the governor of Massachusetts who recently entered the presidential race.
“Just FYI Charles Barkley told me tonight ‘I don’t hit women but if I did I would hit you,’ and then when I objected to that he told me I ‘couldn’t take a joke,’ ” McCammond claimed in a tweet.
“There are almost no times I will beak an OTR ‘agreement’ but this is not OK,” she continued. “And it was all because he came in talking about how he loves Deval Patrick and once someone from Pete‘s campaign came around he said he loved Pete and I reminded him he previously said he was a Deval fan.”
In a third tweet, McCammond shared a photo of Barkley speaking to reporters at the unspecified event. “Here’s a pic (albeit dark and blurry) if you need more,” she wrote.
A rep for Barkley did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
McCammond said in another tweet “I hate being part of a story” before sharing statistics about physical abuse.
“Nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the US. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence,” she wrote, crediting the info to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
“It’s not about me or my feelings — tho I’m grateful for the many friends who have reached out,” she wrote. “But it’s about refusing to allow this culture to perpetuate because of silence on these issues. It’s easier and less awkward to be silent, but that helps NO ONE but the perpetrator.”
In another tweet on the subject, McCammond said, “I Encourage you to consider how you’d respond if a friend said something similar to what Barkley said tonight. And then challenge yourself to ask the same of yourself if a stranger (or ‘celebrity’) said that. I hope the answers are the same. Everyone should be held accountable.”
On Wednesday, Turner Sports PR released a statement on behalf of Barkley.
“My comment was inappropriate and unacceptable. It was an attempted joke that wasn’t funny at all. There’s no excuse for it and I apologize,” the tweet read.
In response, McCammond said that Barkley’s comments “are not acceptable” in another tweet.
“Threats of violence are not a joke, & no person deserves to be hit or threatened like that,” she continued. “Silence only allows the culture of misogyny to fester. And those kinds of comments don’t merit off-the-record protections.”
During his NBA career from 1984 to 2000, Barkley played for the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets. In 1996, he was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.
He also competed in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games and won two gold medals as a member of the United States’ “Dream Team.”
Since retiring, Barkley has been a NBA analyst for TNT alongside Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson.