An ESPN host who got sidelined for two weeks after calling President Trump a "white supremacist" and urging people to boycott Dallas Cowboys' advertisers will pocket an estimated $40,000 or more during her time in the sports network's penalty box.
Jemele Hill was suspended for repeatedly violating the company’s social media guidelines, but the punishment comes with a paycheck, according to a tweet from author James Miller, who literally wrote the book on ESPN.
The Bristol, Conn.- based network declined to comment, but an ESPN insider familiar with the salaries of other on-air talent said that most “SportsCenter” anchors are paid a salary that is “quite significant” and estimated that Hill makes over $1 million per year. Hill, along with co-host Michael Smith, anchor the relatively new “SC6,” a modern version of “SportsCenter” with a urban feel at airs at 6 p.m. ET.
Hill first made waves last month when she called Trump a “white supremacist” and violated the company’s social media guidelines a second time earlier this week when she encouraged fans to boycott the advertisers of a major ESPN partner.
Hill called on fans to take indirect action against the Dallas Cowboys after owner Jerry Jones told players they would be benched if they didn't stand up during the national anthem.
“Change happens when advertisers are impacted,” Hill wrote. “If you strongly reject what Jerry Jones said, the key is his advertisers.”
ESPN, the network that employs Hill, agreed to pay $15.2 billion in 2011 to air the NFL’s “Monday Night Football,” according to The New York Times. The Cowboys are among the most popular teams in the NFL and appear frequently in high-profile primetime games.
“Jemele Hill has been suspended for two weeks for a second violation of our social media guidelines. She previously acknowledged letting her colleagues and company down with an impulsive tweet. In the aftermath, all employees were reminded of how much individual tweets may reflect negatively on ESPN and that such action would have consequences. Hence this decision,” an ESPN spokesman said in a statement.
Miller reported that Bill Simmons and Tony Kornheiser were not paid when they were suspended by ESPN, citing senior executives at the network. Simmons was suspended for negative comments about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Kornheiser was benched for publically mocking the outfit of a female colleague.
“Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has surrounded himself with other white supremacists,” Hill wrote on Sept 11. She called him “the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime.” Hill also called Trump a “bigot,” and “unqualified and unfit to be president.” She even added: “If he were not white, he never would have been elected.”
Trump has fired back, mocking ESPN’s ratings on Twitter.
ESPN star Dan Le Batard said Wednesday on his radio show that he would pay out of his own pocket to receive a two-week vacation over a high-profile issue such as the one that Hill was suspended for.
“If ESPN would allow me, I would pay them whatever my two weeks of salary is and I would go away,” Le Batard said. “These situations are good for the people involved.”
Le Batard said that he’s “not afraid” of suspension and hinted that he will get involved with the network’s on-going feud with President Trump.
“At some point, I’m going to have to be pushed to the point where I make the decision to either get suspended or fired. If this keeps getting pushed this way, I’m going to sit out the entirety of this fight,” he said. “I have to sit out some of it now but what I’m telling you is, it only serves me. If I were to get fired or suspended for this cause – it would not be bad for my career.”