Jemele Hill went through a storm last year when her career took an unexpected turn and she ultimately quit her ESPN gig after getting suspended for tweets speaking out against President Donald Trump.
Hill has accumulated enough life experience and stories to offer up some keen career advice. And on Tuesday the award-winning journalist gave an audience at the University of Memphis some key tips on being your authentic self, USA Today reports.
“Tell the truth bravely, even if it makes people uncomfortable,” Hill said.
Hill gave a talk at the university’s 8th annual Norm Brewer First Amendment Lecture and she spoke candidly about the tweet calling Trump a “white supremacist” that almost sidelined her career.
Hill caused a stir online when she tweeted that Trump was “a white supremacist who surrounds himself with other white supremacists. Show me the lie.” She got suspended before ultimately deciding to part ways with the network.
Trump fired back “With Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have tanked, in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry.”
Hill admits about that pivotal moment: “If I were ESPN, I would have suspended me, too, but that still wasn’t going to stop me from saying what I had to say,” Hill said according to a story posted on Memphis’ College of Communication & Fine Arts website. “I was just comfortable assuming the consequence of what came with it.
“Being at ESPN changed my life. We were on the same page 95 percent of the time when I was there, but in this case, we just weren’t — which is OK. Two things can be true at the same time. They can protect their business and I have the right to protect my integrity.”
Hill said she viewed the tweet as just a fact-based comment after Trump lodged support behind a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
However, she said after she saw the tweet from Trump, she laughed and went to sleep. She woke up the next morning to find that it was making the rounds on cable news shows.
But the short-lived silencing of Hill, she said, caused her to re-examine her career after she stepped down after 12 years from her hosting job at ESPN.
Hill went on to write for the Atlantic and she returned to ESPN to work for The Undefeated a site that focuses on culture, race, and sports. In addition, she started a production company, Lodge Freeway Media, with best friend Kelley Carter. And on April 8, she plans to launch a podcast called Unbothered on Spotify.