Jemele Hill suspended by ESPN over social media comments

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“Jemele Hill has been suspended for two weeks for a second violation of our social media guidelines,” ESPN said in a statement Monday on its public relations Twitter account.

Wire Reports

BRISTOL, Conn. — ESPN anchor Jemele Hill has been suspended by the network for two weeks for making political statements on social media.

Hill, who is African-American, received criticism from the network last month after referring to President Donald Trump as a “white supremacist.”

Hill targeted Jerry Jones after the Dallas Cowboys owner stated that players who disrespect the flag would not play for his team.

Hill tweeted Sunday that fans who disagree with Jones should target the team’s advertisers and not buy the team’s merchandise. She clarified Monday she was not calling for an NFL boycott.

ESPN said in a statement Monday that Hill and all employees were reminded in the aftermath of the Trump tweet that posts that may reflect negatively on the company would have consequences.

“Jemele Hill has been suspended for two weeks for a second violation of our social media guidelines,” ESPN said in a statement Monday on its public relations Twitter account. “She previously acknowledged letting her colleagues and company down with an impulsive tweet. In the aftermath, all employees were reminded of how individual tweets may reflect negatively on ESPN and that such actions would have consequences. Hence this decision.”

Hill’s suspension comes in response to tweets she made suggesting football fans pressure NFL advertisers in response to mandates from the owners of the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins that players stand during the playing of the national anthem. On Sunday, Hill wrote, “If you strongly reject what Jerry Jones said, the key is his advertisers. Don’t place the burden squarely on the players.” Hill tweeted again Monday saying that she was not calling for an advertiser boycott, but did not clarify what fan-advertiser interaction she was suggesting. “Just so we’re clear: I’m not advocating a NFL boycott. But an unfair burden has been put on players in Dallas & Miami w/ anthem directives.” Her original tweet quoted another Twitter user encouraging fans to write to advertisers’ corporate offices and post on their social-media pages.

Hill will not appear on Monday’s 6 p.m. edition of “SportsCenter,” which the network bills as “SC6” and which Hill hosts with Michael Smith. ESPN has not yet said who will host the show duringHill’s two-week suspension.

The suspension came one month after ESPN distanced itself from comments Hill made on Twitter calling President Donald Trump a white supremacist. The network did not suspend Hill for the comments, and eventually came under fire from Trump himself. ESPN president John Skipper after the incident sent a memo to staff saying “In light of recent events, we need to remind ourselves that we are a journalistic organization and that we should not do anything that undermines that position.”

Hill in an essay posted on ESPN’s website The Undefeated, later wrote of the incident, “Twitter wasn’t the place to vent my frustrations.”

Controversy was ignited in mid-September when Hill tweeted her views on Trump, calling the president a “white supremacist” and a “bigot.”

Hill then issued a statement expressing regret that her comments “painted ESPN in an unfair light” via Twitter, but not before White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to a reporter’s question about the incident: “I think that’s one of the more outrageous comments that anyone could make, and certainly something that I think is a fireable offense by ESPN,” she said.

In response to the goings on, the entertainment industry took to Twitter to express support for Hill.

“Jemele Hill is sharp. Speaks her mind and never has to ‘get back to you on that.’ We’re lucky she’s on TV,” wrote Seth Meyers.

“I’m in television and I’m also calling President Trump a white supremacist,” wrote Michael Green, screenwriter and producer for “American Gods.”

“From his history, performance & statements, Pres. Donald Trump is a white supremacist. Please alert HBO I need to be fired,” wrote David Simon, showrunner for HBO’s “The Deuce” and “The Wire.”

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