An organization that “supports the advancement and growth of women” in sports media is silent after one of its own, ESPN’s Jemele Hill, was disciplined for violations to the company’s social media policy and then targeted and personally attacked by the president of the United States.
After an email inquiry about the national attention around Hill, to a generic organization email account, BuzzFeed News received an unsigned response: “AWSM has not released a statement on Jemele Hill.”
Hill was warned by ESPN after tweeting that President Trump was a white supremacist, and this week was suspended for two weeks after suggesting that if fans wanting to make a statement to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones should boycott advertisers because “change happens when advertisers are impacted.”
She later stated that she was not, in fact, advocating for any sort of a boycott, but rather offering commentary. The suspension came immediately. AWSM’s Lydia Craver, the chair of the board of the organization and an ESPN employee did not immediately respond to an email from BuzzFeed News seeking comment.
Referring to the email sent from the nameless account, Jenny Dial Creech, a columnist for the Houston Chronicle, said, “Thanks for your email. I believe Meghan Montemurro got back to you yesterday.”
AWSM has featured Hill prominently on its website and sent a press release saying that she and ESPN colleague Cari Champion was set to participate in its annual conference this spring. In the recent past, it has quickly responded, for instance, to the press conference of Carolina Panthers quarterback in which Cam Newton said it was “funny to hear a female talk about routes.”
“AWSM is very discouraged by Cam Newton’s disrespectful remarks and actions directed to a female reporter during today’s Carolina Panthers press conference,” the organization said that day. “As a watchdog group, AWSM demands fair treatment and positive workplace environments for women working in sports media.”
In the release about Hill and Champion taking part in the conference in Texas, AWSM noted that ESPN, a “platinum-level” sponsor and “longtime supporter of the organization and has more AWSM members than any sports media outlet.”