Jemele Hill on Trump: ‘ESPN Didn’t Stand up for Me at All as a Company’

U.S. President Donald Trump is surely not Jemele Hill’s cup of tea.

“We have just unfortunately been through a full presidency where we had a president who struggled to denounce white supremacy,” Hill stated in a dialogue with media culturist Daniel Artest while on a recent episode of the Daniel Artest Podcast.

“And it was just like, ‘Oh wow. This is where we are now…’ and in the aftermath of that, 70 million people voted for that again. They looked at that and said, ‘You know what? Sign me up for four more!’ It’s – I don’t think that the people who did it; even the Black people that voted for Donald Trump, they don’t understand how hurtful that is through a lot of us who feel that were attacked and marginalized and have seen a different level of ugliness in this country as a result of his racist dog whistles and his racist rhetoric is like, is hard to watch. And there is no tax break that I can get to make me sign up for that again. So I hope that those people who did do that do some soul searching and understand that there’s got to be a moral component to somebody that represents this country. He’s representing all of this. She is representing all of us. Not just the people that represent a certain values or certain tax brackets. Like the job is to be a public servant, okay? It’s a servitude job. Regardless of the fact that it is a powerful job and I think sometimes people don’t understand that.”

Hill and Trump are no strangers. On September 11, 2017, Hill called Trump a “white supremacist” via Twitter.

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called Hill’s thoughts “a fireable offense by ESPN” and Trump himself addressed Hill’s comments and shared that he thought that Hill, a recipient of the National Association of Black Journalists journalist of the year award in 2018, owed him an apology. “My comments on Twitter expressed my personal beliefs,” she said.

“My regret is that my comments and the public way I made them painted ESPN in an unfair light. My respect for the company and my colleagues remains unconditional.”

While on the Daniel Artest Podcast, Jemele Hill also weighed in on the backlashed that she received. “I guess that it wasn’t necessarily surprising,” she told Artest.

GettyFirst Lady Melania Trump joined the President.

“But, I think what shocked me was the speed in which it happens. It’s like, ‘Oh wow. Literally last week this was not my life. Now there’s a huge amount of people who hate me…’ That part of it can be kind of jarring but – and I will say just aside from Carrie and Mike there were a number of my ESPN colleagues who were very supportive and also they were apologetic because they could not publicly support me. They wanted to, but I understood the position that they were in because you know, ESPN would view that as an open act of treason of you will; like, if they’re coming out and supporting me and that’s creating a ripple effect on them, it’s a tough spot to be in so, I understood and I didn’t hold any grudges about that because you know, I get it. But I think that the hardest part for me during that time was that ESPN didn’t stand up for me at all as a company. You know, the people have to understand – and especially because this ties into how I was raised as a journalist if you will. A journalist’s job is to piss off City Hall. That is what happens, right? And every place that I’ve been, reporters have routinely got into confrontations or disagreements with high ranking officials. The newspaper ALWAYS has the reporter’s back because, what we can’t have is, a government that attacks the press. So that’s part of having free press, right? You can certainly disagree with us and all those kind of things, you know but I’m still a citizen. And so for the President to put a bull’s-eye on my back is a completely different story. And so I thought in that moment even though ESPN may not have agreed with what I said or even the method in which I said it, you don’t let the President and the White House come after me. Like, you HAVE to say something because that’s central to our democracy. And the fact that they didn’t, was a really big letdown for me.”


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