ESPN employees vent about Jamele Hill on private message board

Deadspin has obtained chat logs from a private message board used by ESPN employees who discussed the Jamele Hill situation at the network. Hill, an anchor for the Sportscenter show, tweeted last week that Donald Trump was a white supremacist.

ESPN reprimanded Hill but took no further action. In the past, the network had suspended employees for much less. 

Deadspin has obtained chat logs from an internal forum used by ESPN employees, in which a series of ESPNers have argued over the past few days about Hill’s case and, more broadly, how much employees should be permitted to share their political opinions online, the degree to which ESPN should be political, and the cynically engineered perception that the network is too liberal. We have anonymized the employees, who range from off-camera assistants to senior staff. 

What I found most fascinating about the chats is that Hill grossly violated the network's personnel policy by spouting off about the presdent.

3. Company platforms are intended to foster productivity, efficiency and teamwork. Employees should avoid unnecessary or unproductive arguments and refrain from discussing sensitive or inflammatory subjects that are not related to work, such as politics or religion.

1. Employees’ online activities conducted on non-Company platforms, but which relate to the Company’s business interests, also are subject to Company policies, including this Employee Policy Manual and the Standards of Business Conduct.

The Company provides certain social media networks and other online publishing and discussion tools to allow employees to communicate and collaborate internally. When using these platforms, or engaging in other online activities that relate to the Company’s business interests, employees must comply with Company policy.

Hill's comments were therefore in direct and serious violation of the company's employee policies. It's been reported that ESPN tried to remove Hill from her anchor position and replace her with another black woman anchor. ESPN denied the report but considering what we know about the network, the story rings true.

Most of the employees used the policy manual to argue Hill should have been more severely disciplined.

Black on September 13 at 7:08 PM

Really? You had a talk with her and that’s the punishment? With all the other firings and suspensions in the past for much less, this is the best ESPN can do? Talent should be held accountable for their actions as they are the face of the company. Britt McHenry got suspended a week for mouthing off to a cashier. Bill Simmons, Dan Le Batard , Stephen A Smith and Keith Olbermann all suspended for lesser offences. Tony Kornheiser got two weeks suspension for talking about clothing. But racial insults to the President are okay? On the positive, Ms Hill has the support of Colin Kaepernick and Kathy Griffin. So she has that going for her.



When Hank Williams Jr. was being interviewed by Fox News, was he speaking for ESPN or speaking on an ESPN platform?

When Curt Schilling posted a cartoon on Facebook, was he speaking for ESPN or speaking on an ESPN platform?

I’m actually stunned that there are people willing to defend her because her message above is clearly not an apology, it was a double down. And there are roughly 63 million people who voted for and support the president , and I’m willing to bet that they’re not happy being called white supremacists. I’m certainly not. It’s offensive. And we’re going to lose even more viewers as a result. How does this just keep getting worse?


Regardless of how you fee l about the content of Jemele’s tweets, the fact is that because of her forward facing role at ESPN, anything she says or writes will be considered by the public to represent ESPN. That goes for anyone who has a forward facing role.

What’s disappointed me most over the last month is how often ESPN has made news, rather than reporting it. In today’s overly political environment, that’s not good for us. Although I’m clearly not in a position to tell our talent how they should communicate, I would encourage t hem to think carefully about what and how they communicate, and its impact on the company. Although it’s been overused, Herm Edwards’ quote about “think before hitting send” never had more meaning than now ...

There was a lot of support for Hill's First Amendment rights.

If every word was scrutinized from ESPN employees on Social Media, this campus would be empty. Social Media, is a powerful tool as you stated and 45 uses it as a platform to abuse his power by spewing ignorance and less than intelligent banter to ridicule, insult , humiliate and dehumanize the citizens of this country on a DAILY basis, yet he is still in office. Are the employees of ESPN any different by using their freedom of speech to publicly attack Jemele on the company platform ITK, and the internet? Where is their integrity? Should they lose their job?

I was surprised that so many employees recognize the company's cynical double standard and complained about it. Meanwhile, Hill continues in her position and has been unapologetic about her racial smear of the president.



If you experience technical problems, please write to