CNN inks ex-ESPN host Jemele Hill, who called Trump voters racist, for new streaming service

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Media top headlines February 10

In media news today, NPR gets mocked for an article on ‘white privilege’ emoji’s, an MSNBC contributor criticizes his own network for comparing Alabama congressional maps to Jim Crow, and a Washington Post columnist mocks CNN anchors for ‘whimpering’ over Jeff Zucker’s exit.

CNN has signed Jemele Hill, the former ESPN anchor who famously called former President Trump a White supremacist and his voters racists, to host a show on its upcoming streaming service, the network announced Thursday. 

Hill and fellow ex-ESPN host Cari Champion will host a weekly show on the subscription service, where she joins Twitter left-wing provocateur Rex Chapman and a variety of CNN hosts who are scheduled to have shows on CNN+.

Jemele Hill’s career took a turn in September 2017 when she tweeted, "Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has surrounded himself with other white supremacists."  (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for ESSENCE)
(Getty Images)

Hill’s career took a turn in September 2017 when she 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 tweet caught the attention of the White House and then-press secretary Sarah Sanders, who said she considered the rhetoric a “fireable offense.”

Trump also got involved, mocking Hill and ESPN’s lackluster ratings. She has continued to be outspoken on social media, even calling all prospective Trump voters “racist” in 2020. 

ESPN initially declined to punish Hill 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.

Former ESPN anchor Jemele Hill will co-host a show on CNN’s streaming service.  (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Advertising Week New York) 
( (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Advertising Week New York))

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. She eventually left ESPN and joined The Atlantic, where she covered race, sports, politics and culture.

Hill said in 2018 that she didn’t regret the controversial statement about Trump. 

“I thought I was saying water is wet,” Hill said on Dan Le Batard’s podcast. “I didn’t even think it was controversial.”

Jemele Hill deleted a tweet in 2019 that jokingly referenced the assassination of President Trump during his State of the Union address. 
(Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for ESPN)

Hill used similar rhetoric last year following Republican Glenn Youngkin’s win in the Virginia gubernatorial race.

“It’s not the messaging, folks,” Hill tweeted. “This country simply loves white supremacy.”

In 2019, Hill deleted a tweet that jokingly referenced the assassination of Trump during his State of the Union address. 

“If you vote for Donald Trump, you are a racist. You have no wiggle room,” Hill tweeted prior to the 2020 election. 

Hill said her new CNN family was a “perfect” fit for her…

Last month, CNN was widely mocked by conservatives when it announced Chapman would join the streaming service, despite being infamous for sharing tweets that are often out-of-context or regurgitated from users with smaller followings. 

In the wake of former CNN boss Jeff Zucker being ousted last week, there has been speculation throughout the media industry that CNN would tone down its partisan outlook once a looming merger with Discovery is complete. However, the additions of Hill and Chapman signal that its streaming service will continue to favor a more liberal ideology. 

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