By Brian Flood
Published October 01, 2018
Jemele Hill – the controversial anti-Trump, former ESPN star – is joining The Atlantic as a staff writer, Atlantic Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Goldberg announced on Monday.
“I'm very pleased to announce that the great @jemelehill is joining @TheAtlantic as a staff writer. She'll be covering the intersection of sports, race, politics, gender, and culture for us. Welcome, Jemele,” Goldberg tweeted.
Hill, who famously called President Trump a “white supremacist” on Twitter last year, is an outspoken liberal who frequently dives into politics on social media. She left ESPN last month shortly after the New York Post reported a $2.5 million-per-year contract had been finalized. Hill was often criticized for helping turn ESPN too political for many would-be viewers and the network has recently taken steps to return to its apolitical glory days.
“My journalistic interests are somewhat different than Disney’s,” Goldberg told The Hollywood Reporter. “I’m not sure that ESPN is particularly interested, especially in television, in standing at the intersection of sports and culture and race and gender and politics. It can be a pretty dangerous corner for some people. But that’s exactly the intersection that I want to be at.”
The now-former ESPN star has mentioned her desire to create content about “women of color” and to help dismantle institutional racism. The Atlantic, which has been around since 1857, aims to “embrace a diversity of perspectives,” according to its website.
The Atlantic boss added: “I like having journalists on our staff who make all sorts of useful trouble, and Jemele, I believe, will make all sorts of useful trouble.”
In September 2017, Hill tweeted, “Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has surrounded himself with other white supremacists.” Hill also called Trump a “bigot” and “unqualified and unfit to be president.” She added, “If he were not white, he never would have been elected.”
Hill’s anti-Trump comments caught the attention of the White House and Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, who said she considered the rhetoric a “fireable offense.” Trump even got involved himself, mocking Hill and ESPN’s lackluster ratings.
ESPN initially declined to punish her for the tweet but then sidelined her for two weeks in October 2017, after she violated the company’s social media guidelines again. The second violation occurred when she called on fans to boycott the Dallas Cowboys’ advertisers after owner Jerry Jones told players they would be benched if they did not stand up during the national anthem. Not long after returning from her suspension, ESPN reassigned Hill from its flagship “SportsCenter” to a role at The Undefeated, the company’s site that covers the intersections of sports and race.
“The time has come for me to begin a new chapter in my life,” Hill tweeted last month.