Jemele Hill, who called out Trump, to split with ESPN

The network is expected to buyout her $2.5 million contract, reports say.

Jemele Hill
Jemele Hill on The View Photo/Screenshot


Outspoken sports journalist Jemele Hill is breaking up with sports network ESPN after a series of incidents in which she bumped heads with network brass about issues of racism.

A person familiar with the situation told Variety that Hill will leave the network at the beginning of September. Hill was a commentator for “Sports Center” and, most recently, a columnist at ESPN’s The Undefeated.

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ESPN declined to put Variety in touch with executives for comment and Hill referred a query to her manager, Evan Dick, who could not immediately be reached by the news organization.

The alleged departure was reported via Twitter by James Andrew Miller, podcaster/journalist. Miller tweeted Saturday that the parting was “amicable” and that it’s “been a long time coming.”

Miller also tweeted that the separation is coming after a meeting that Hill requested with ESPN President James Pitaro.

Variety reported that the purpose of the meeting was discuss Hill’s departure plan.

Brian Steinberg, senior TV editor with Variety, said via Twitter that he’d confirmed the departure.

The Daily Mail notes that on “On September 11, 2017, Hill came under fire for calling Trump a ‘white supremacist’ and ‘unqualified and unfit’ to be a president, as well as a ‘bigot.'”

She also defended athletes’ right to take a knee in protest of police misconduct. Her remarks about Trump prompted the White House to call for her firing and motivated ESPN to suspend her for two weeks.

In the spring, the National Association of Black Journalists named Hill its “2018 NABJ Journalist of the Year,” commending her for “using her platform to address national, social and cultural issues, in addition to sports.”

NABJ President Sarah Glover called Hill a “gem” who exhibits strength, grace, and doggedness.

“NABJ appreciates the courage and steadfastness Jemele has demonstrated as a journalist and commentator speaking truth to power,” Glover said earlier this year.

Pitaro has said that ESPN is to report only on sports and stay out of the fray of politics, Variety reported. He has told reporters he would refer that ESPN reporters avoid expressing individual political beliefs to the public.

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