Former ESPN Co-Host Jemele Hill Explains Why She Was Paid $200k Less Than Co-Host Michael Smith

Former ESPN Co-Host Jemele Hill Explains Why She Was Paid $200k Less Than Co-Host Michael Smith

Former ESPN journalist Jemele Hill and His and Hers co-host appeared on Revolt TV’s Assets Over Liabilities with hosts Rashard Bilal and Troy Millings to discuss her time at the network.

During her time at the network, Hill was not quiet about her issues with the sports world and politics, her eloquent tweets providing a stark contrast to ESPN’s “stick to sports” philosophy. She famously tweeted that former President Donald Trump was a White supremacist which prompted Trump demanding ESPN to “apologize for untruth.”

Weeks later, she went after Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for his anti-kneeling stance on former quarterback Colin Kaepernick‘s anthem protest. “Change happens when advertisers are impacted.” Hill tweeted. “If you feel strongly about JJ’s statement, boycott his advertisers.”

Hill told Bilal and Millings that those tweets and others that made headlines shouldn’t have been viewed as controversial.

“I didn’t consider it speaking out,” Hill said. “I considered it ‘telling the truth,’ which is a core principle in journalism. We’re supposed to be truth-tellers on top of being storytellers, and we’re also supposed to hold those in power accountable.”

Hill added that her time at the network really taught her about the business of sports journalism and how much money was involved.

“It wasn’t until I got to ESPN that I really got serious about the business side of journalism because I got to see what people made. I was like, ‘Oh, that’s possible?!’ ESPN forced me to really grow up because it’s a different game being played at that level than it is at the previous places I had been,” Hill told the Revolt hosts. “This is the first time I had an agent and the first time I really had to learn how to manage my money.”

One of the things she found out on the business side was that fellow journalist and co-host Michael Smith made significantly more than she did despite doing the same amount of work.

“I was making $200,000 less than him even though we were doing the same job,” she told Assets Over Liabilities. “It’s not so much about what you’re worth, it’s about what you will negotiate. I started at ESPN at such a low salary to begin with.”

Hill added that her contract at ESPN was one of the worst she ever signed. She earned $125,000 her first year as an independent contractor, so she had to pay her own medical insurance and taxes.

The Michigan State alumnus left SportsCenter and eventually ESPN in 2018, saying she was no longer happy. Working on SportsCenter wasn’t her dream job like it was for others at the network.

Hill was slated to host a show on CNN Plus with another former ESPN host, Cari Champion. However, CNN  discontinued the streaming news network. Hill is still hosting her Unbothered podcast.