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#pounditMonday, October 3, 2022

Report: ESPN wanted to keep Jemele Hill off-air Wednesday

Jemele Hill

ESPN ultimately backed Jemele Hill amid public pressure to fire her over her comments about Donald Trump, but one report says they wanted the host to take a breather on Wednesday.

Think Progress’ Lindsay Gibbs reports that ESPN wanted to keep Hill off air Wednesday. They ran into an issue when Hill’s co-workers reportedly gave her incredible support.

Think Progress says Hill’s “SportsCenter” co-host Michael Smith refused to do the show without Hill. Meanwhile, potential fill-in hosts ESPN was said to have contacted, Michael Eaves and Elle Duncan (both of whom are black), did not agree to sub-in. A tweet from Eaves sent on Wednesday indicated he was angry/frustrated.

Hill did not miss any time hosting her show despite being embroiled in the controversy. The pressure even came from the White House after press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Hill’s Twitter comments about Trump were a “fireable offense.”

In tweets sent as part of a political discussion on Monday, Hill called Trump a white supremacist. ESPN sent a statement saying the comments were “inappropriate.”

Hill sent a statement via Twitter Wednesday in which she apologized for making ESPN look bad through her comments. The network said it had accepted her apology.

It’s important to note that ESPN told Think Progress they always wanted Hill to host the show Wednesday with Smith despite reports saying they tried to do otherwise.

“In the end, ultimately, Michael and Jemele appearing on the show last night and doing the show the way they did is the outcome we always desired,” senior VP Rob King told Think Progress.


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