ESPN, already unpopular with conservatives, is now facing the possibility of a boycott from furious liberals over the sports network’s suspension of host Jemele Hill.
ESPN suspended Hill for calling for a boycott of the Dallas Cowboys’ advertisers after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones threatened to bench any player who kneeled during the anthem. Hill’s boycott was her second violation of ESPN’s social media policies, the network said. She previously stirred controversy by calling President Trump a “white supremacist” on Twitter.
WATCH JEMELE HILL CALLS TRUMP A WHITE SUPREMACIST:
The backlash against ESPN for Hill’s suspension began almost immediately among left-wing activists and celebrities, many of whom used the hashtag “#BoycottESPN” on social media.
“Dear [ESPN] suspending [Jemele Hill] doesn’t make you seem biased, bigoted or racist all,” actor Greg Proops wrote. “Boo. Not watching till she’s back.”
— Greg Proops (@GregProops) October 9, 2017
Actress Debra Messing also called for a boycott of ESPN.
— Debra Messing (@DebraMessing) October 9, 2017
— Imraan Siddiqi (@imraansiddiqi) October 9, 2017
“I wanna know who made the call for Jemele Hill to be suspended—We will boycott ESPN til u tell us & that person is fired,” Democratic operative Scott Dworkin wrote on Twitter, using the hashtag “#BoycottESPN.”
Reverend Al Sharpton also hinted at a boycott of ESPN.
“ESPN’s suspension of Jemele Hill is an outrage and should NOT go unanswered,” Sharpton wrote on Twitter. “ESPN and advertisers will hear from us!” (RELATED: ESPN Host: Trump ‘Made Football Bow’ [VIDEO])
Sharpton struck a similar tone in a statement on behalf of the National Action Network, an activist organization he founded
“We consider it outrageous that Jemele Hill was suspended by ESPN,” Sharpton said.
“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,” he warned.
ESPN has struggled to maintain its ratings amidst a growing backlash to the sports network’s increasingly political slant. (RELATED: Report: ESPN’s Left-Wing Politics Are Driving Away Viewers)
The network already had a reputation for its liberal bias, even before Hill called President Trump a “white supremacist” on Twitter, which drew a reaction from the White House.
White House press secretary called Hill’s remarks a “fireable offense” and Trump demanded an apology from the network. Hill later walked back her comments, although she has remained vocal about politics.
JEMELE HILL SUSPENDED FOR TWO WEEKS:
Correction: An earlier headline said that Hill was fired. She was suspended.