Outraged over the suspension of ESPN host Jemele Hill, Rev. Al Sharpton has threatened a boycott of the network and has demanded a meeting with their upper management at Disney. ESPN announced on Monday that Hill would be off the air for two weeks for violating their social media policy. Sharpton says that she did nothing wrong and wants Hill reinstated immediately. He and the National Action Network (NAN) issued a statement Monday night.
“We consider it outrageous that Jemele Hill was suspended by ESPN,” the statement reads. “She has the right to tell people that they ought to let advertisers know how they feel, since they are the consumers. While she didn’t call for a direct boycott, it’s not off the table for us in the civil rights community.”
ESPN’s Defense Of Hill’s Suspension
ESPN claims that Hill’s tweets, which suggested that fans protest Dallas Cowboys advertisers rather than penalize the players, constituted her second violation of company policy. She was discussing how owner Jerry Jones threatened to bench players who protested during the national anthem even though peaceful protest is a First Amendment right. The first infraction was Hill’s tweet calling Trump a White supremacist which led to the White House demanding that she be terminated.
Sharpton announced that he and the NAN would hold a press conference at 12 noon ET outside of ESPN’s offices in New York’s Upper West Side.
“Rev. Sharpton and NAN will call for a meeting with the Chairman of the Board and demand an immediate reinstatement of Jemele Hill along with other demands pertaining to corporate diversity,” the statement said.
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) October 10, 2017
Trump Attacks Jamele Hill
Donald Trump, who lauded Jerry Jones for threatening his players, has weighed in on ESPN’s decision to suspend Jemele Hill with a Tuesday morning tweet. He insulted her journalistic ability and blamed her for the station’s “tanked” ratings.
“With Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have “tanked,” in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry,” Trump wrote.
With Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have "tanked," in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2017
Sharpton said that while ESPN may try to silence Jamele Hill, those tactics won’t work on him and those who condemn Jerry Jones’ mandate.
“We are supposed to be a country where the First Amendment gives you the freedom of speech,” Sharpton told TMZ Sports. “Suspending her will not suspend the actions of those of us who are saying that the original basis of the protest was police brutality and racism. We will not be shut down, we will not be suspended, and we will not stand for her to be suspended.”