On the latest episode of “Hey Mayne,” a podcast hosted by former “SportsCenter” anchor Kenny Mayne, Jemele Hill joined the podcast to discuss her time at ESPN.
Hill, who was an anchor on “SportsCenter” with Michael Smith from February 2017 to January 2018, left the company in October 2018.
In 2017, Hill tweeted that former President Trump was a “white supremacist,” prompting ESPN to release a statement saying Hill’s comments did not “represent the position of ESPN.”
Shortly after, Hill was suspended by the network for violating its social media guidelines for a second time.
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Hill told Mayne that before the Trump tweet, she was already having creative issues with management.
“I wasn’t a good fit for the ‘SportsCenter’ culture,” Hill said on the podcast. “Definitely not a good fit for the management that was overseeing ‘SportsCenter’ at the time. And I got tired. I got really tired of fighting every day to be myself.”
Hill also disputed the suggestion ESPN has a liberal culture.
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“It’s a conservative culture at ESPN, and so this idea that ESPN is being run by flower children is just a lie,” Hill said on the podcast, according to the New York Post. “That’s not how it is. It’s the opposite, if anything. As you know all too well.
“Once [critics] started seeing my face, Michael’s face became more prominent … then suddenly ESPN is too liberal because what they’re really trying to say is, ‘Oh, y’all must be liberal-leaning because you got all these women and all these Black people who are suddenly on my TV every day. So that means this company has certainly given in to a brigade of liberalism.’”
Hill told Mayne she chose to leave “SportsCenter” because “the experience wasn’t fun for me anymore.”
“By far, ‘SportsCenter’ was the most high-profile job I had at ESPN,” Hill said. “It was the best-paying job I had at ESPN. But it’s also the worst job I had at ESPN.”
Hill is currently a contributor at The Atlantic.
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