Oft-controversial media member Jemele Hill is in the news again for the wrong reasons — and once again, because of another controversial tweet.
Hill, the former ESPN host and announcer, recently compared the United States to Nazi Germany. Her tweet drew mass criticism and quickly went viral.
Hill’s latest comments, which aren’t the first time she’s mentioned Nazi Germany, do more than show why she’s no longer at ESPN. The tweet is a reminder of how far Hill has fallen.
Who is Jemele Hill?
A veteran journalist from Detroit, Jemele Hill is best known for the time she spent at ESPN.
Originally a columnist for ESPN.com’s Page 2, Hill jumped to television alongside Michael Smith. The two hosted Numbers Never Lie before they became co-hosts of a re-branded SportsCenter called SC6.
Hill held that role until she moved to ESPN’s The Undefeated in 2018. She joined The Atlantic later that year.
Hill is also active in the podcast world. She is currently co-hosting a podcast about HBO’s The Wire.
Hill compared the United States to Nazi Germany
Jemele Hill, like many others, is a member of Oprah Winfrey’s book club.
The last book Winfrey promoted is Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. Isabel Wilkerson’s book examines American history and how the country’s treatment of Black people resembles a caste system.
Hill shared she was reading in the book in a tweet on Aug. 23, 2020. She attached the following commentary after the book’s title.
“[A]nd if you were of the opinion that the United States wasn’t nearly as bad as Nazi Germany, how wrong you are. Can’t encourage you enough to read this masterpiece.”
The tweet, which remained online as of publication, quickly went viral. The criticism Jemele Hill received came quickly and from all directions.
Stephanie Hamill, a host on OANN, said Hill’s tweet was “NEXT level dumb.” Hamill added she thought Hill should take a break from Twitter.
Tracy-Ann Oberman, an English actress and columnist, tagged Hill in a picture of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
“THIS is nazi Germany . To those of who lost our family there what you are asserting is unbelievably reductive and offensive. Please find new words and comparables.”
Errol Webber, a California politician running for Congress, asked, “How does @JemeleHill continue to get work in this country when she’s ALWAYS on the wrong side of history?”
This isn’t Hill’s first Nazi-related controversy
Jemele Hill is no stranger to controversies involving Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.
In 2008, Hill received a one-week suspension when she wrote rooting for the Celtics “is like saying Hitler was a victim. It’s like hoping Gorbachev would get to the blinking red button before Reagan.” Hill is a Detroit Pistons fan.
In a recent column for The Atlantic, Hill reflected on those comments.
“I was, of course, aware of the Holocaust, but I had given little thought to the feelings of the Jewish community because, frankly, it wasn’t my own. When others pointed out the insensitivity of my statement, I was mortified. I apologized and wrote an entire column asking for forgiveness. ESPN suspended me for a week, a punishment that I deserved.”
Hill even called it an “ill-advised Hitler moment.”
Jemele Hill just showed how far she’s fallen
Jemele Hill has used her talent for good. ESPN gave her and Michael Smith the honor of a lifetime — hosting the 6 p.m. version of SportsCenter — because they earned that opportunity.
Hill had an estimated net worth of over $4 million earlier this year. She’s posted well-written stories and worked on excellent video features for nearly 15 years, whether it was at ESPN or somewhere else.
But Hill’s lasting legacy won’t be His and Hers or anything she does in the podcast genre. Jemele Hill is Jemele Hill because she doesn’t hold back on her opinions, things that she feels passionately about.
The problem with that, though, is Hill still hasn’t grasped the idea of every action having a reaction. She had every right to be upset with the NFL at how the league treated Colin Kaepernick through 2016 and 2017. Few, if any, people, though, remember Hill’s emotional and impassioned comments on-air. They remember ESPN suspending her for repeatedly violating the company’s social media policy.
In the same way that Hill urged teams to understand Colin Kaepernick’s stance, she reflected on her 2008 suspension for invoking Hitler’s name. Hill used the term “mortified” to describe her thoughts after people pointed out the insensitivity.
Where is the mortification now? Hill kept the original tweet up and didn’t apologize as of publication.
In the end, tweets and comparisons like Hill have made for over a decade could put her in the same category as the social media users she’s fought with.
Given everything she herself has fought for in that same timeframe, that’s a disappointing legacy for her to have.