Sports | August 8, 2022 2:30 pm

Jemele Hill Blames Her ESPN Departure on Network’s “Conservative Culture”

Hill left "SportsCenter" in January of 2018 and now writes for "The Atlantic" in addition to working on other projects

Jemele Hill accepts the William C. Rhoden Sports Media Award in 2022
Jemele Hill won't be working for ESPN again anytime soon.
Ethan Miller/Getty

Approaching her four-year anniversary of leaving ESPN in the wake of referring to former President Donald Trump as a “bigot” and “white supremacist” in 2018 on social media, Jemele Hill is opening up about her time at The Worldwide Leader and what ultimately led to her departure.

According to the 46-year-old, who joined ESPN as a columnist in 2006 and moved up in the ranks at the network all the way to anchoring SportsCenter in 2017, she left of her own accord because of the “conservative culture” at the Disney-owned content platform. “It’s a conservative culture at ESPN and so this idea that ESPN is being run by flower children is just a lie,” Hill told former ESPNer Kenny Mayne on his Hey Mayne podcast. “That’s not how it is. It’s the opposite, if anything.”

Now a writer for The Atlantic, Hill is likely not making what she was during her days at ESPN. But you can’t put a price on happiness. “I wasn’t a good fit for the SportsCenter culture. 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 said. “By far SportsCenter was the most high-profile job I’ve had at ESPN. It was the best-paying job I had at ESPN. But it’s also the worst job I had at ESPN.”

Suspended by ESPN following her comments about Trump, Hill maintains it was her choice to move on.

“They were so concerned about the headlines, what was being written and all the right-wing media constantly coming for our show. It was no fun for me, and so that’s why I left,” Hill said. “I didn’t get kicked off, I chose to leave because the experience wasn’t fun for me anymore.”