After a former ESPN legal analyst alleged Jemele Hill had a racist voicemail left for her by a legendary sportscaster, the former “SC6” host is saying the claim is false.
Hill chimed in after TMZ reported Monday, March 5 that Adrienne Lawrence relayed a story about Hill in her lawsuit against the Disney-owned network. Lawrence, who is suing ESPN for issues including a hostile work environment and sexual discrimination, claimed in 2016 Hill “received a threatening and racially disparaging voicemail from [Chris] Berman on her ESPN phone line.”
Lawrence used the example to call out alleged misogyny at ESPN and claimed that although Hill reported the incident to ESPN executive Marcia Keegan — who managed Hill’s “His & Hers” show — “nothing was done.”
However, Hill denies that was the case. While “The Undefeated” contributor acknowledged she did have a “personal conflict” with Berman a while back, the dispute was framed in a “dangerously inaccurate” manner.
“Chris never left any racially disparaging remarks on my voicemail and our conflict was handled swiftly and with the utmost professionalism,” Hill tweeted Tuesday. “I felt as if my concerns were taken seriously by ESPN and addressed in a way that made me feel like a valued employee. Frankly, I’m more disappointed that someone I considered to be a friend at one point would misrepresent and relay a private conversation without my knowledge — in which I simply attempted to be a sounding board — for personal gain.”
Hill also noted in a separate tweet that “as always, I write my own statements and no one has ever forced me to put out anything.”
In response, several Twitter users weighed in.
You always involved in SOMETHING. Find another profession. You have worn everybody Out!!
— Chris Williams (@SportsBizChris) March 6, 2018
Thanks for the update …. I had my earrings off in the spirit
— The Jig is Up (@JackieToye) March 6, 2018
So two coworkers had a disagreement, worked it out, and kept on working? That’s the way it should be. Ditch your “friend.” that’s not a friend. always loved watching Chris and still love watching your takes on sports. You rock!
— Billy Davies (@2bullsharkbilly) March 6, 2018
Meanwhile, Lawrence has not addressed Hill’s remarks head-on, however, her #TuesdayTruth tweet could be seen as a possible response.
Do what you must,
And your friends will adjust. – Robert Brault
Some #TuesdayTruth, Twitter!! 😄
— Adrienne Lawrence (@AdrienneLaw) March 6, 2018
Chris Berman has not publicly responded.
Still, the sideline reporter’s former employer maintains it conducted a “thorough investigation” and found her claims are “entirely without merit.”
“Ms. Lawrence was hired into a two-year talent development program and was told that her contract would not be renewed at the conclusion of the training program,” ESPN said in a statement obtained by Law & Crime. “At that same time, ESPN also told 100 other talent with substantially more experience, that their contracts would not be renewed. The company will vigorously defend its position and we are confident we will prevail in court.”