Media Contact

Meghan Smith, 860.992.7645, msmith@acluct.org

October 10, 2017
HARTFORD — ESPN, a company headquartered in Bristol, Connecticut, suspended anchor Jemele Hill after she shared her thoughts about NFL protests on her personal social media page. David McGuire, executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut, issued the following statement:
 
“We condemn ESPN’s decision to punish Jemele Hill for exercising her right to speak out on her personal social media page. It is ironic and disheartening that ESPN decided to undermine its employee’s free speech rights because of tweets in which she stood up for athletes’ abilities to protest racial injustice.
 
Under Connecticut law, employees of private companies have a right to express their views on matters of public concern. The protests that Jemele Hill referenced on Twitter were issues of public concern before the Vice President and President of the United States weighed in, and they will remain so. Racial injustice, and the protests that injustice has inspired, are some of the most critical issues of our time.
 
The only thing letting ESPN down in this situation is ESPN itself. We encourage ESPN to honor Jemele Hill’s right to speak out on her personal social media page and to reconsider a company policy that would punish a journalist for siding with the First Amendment and against racism.”

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