Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Jemele Hill Recalls Toxic Culture at ESPN, ‘Battling and Hating’ Are Common [VIDEO]

*Former ESPN SportsCenter anchors Jemele Hill and Cari Champion joined Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith and Adrienne Banfield-Norris for the latest installment of “Red Table Talk.”

The ladies gathered for a conversation about mean girls and women supporting other women at work.

“I can count on my hands how many friends I’ve had that have never been jealous of me in any moment or tried to throw me under the bus, and [Jemele] was truly one of them,” Champion said.

Hill and Champion recently launched their own series on Vice TV called “Cari and Jemele: Stick to Sports.”

READ MORE: Jemele Hill and Cari Champion Make History for Black Women on Late-Night Television

When Champion joined ESPN, Hill — who had already been there for 6 years — had to school her on the toxic workplace culture. 

“I just had seen too many situations, especially there at ESPN, where people really started battling and hating each other and it turned out it was really over nothing,” Hill said. “As Black women, we can’t afford to do that. As it is, it’s hard enough once we get into that room, once we get to that position, we’re bringing a whole bunch of battles with us, right? So what do I look like with this woman who’s come to ESPN, getting this position, being her enemy?”

Hill exited ESPN amid the backlash over a series of tweets she posted in 2017 calling President Donald Trump a “white supremacist.” Trump responded by demanding ESPN fire Hill. 

“No one had her back. No one. I can count on my hands how many people had her back within the system,” Champion told Red Table Talk about the network’s reaction to Hill’s comments. 

Champion continued, “This woman had made this company millions and given them street credibility. They had put her in a position to win and survive and thrive, and one hint of controversy and they took that all away from her. While she left on her own accord, because she couldn’t thrive there for her own mental, you know, sanity—the way that they treated her … I have never seen anything like it in my life.”

Watch the full episode of Facebook Watch series Red Table Talk via the clip above.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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