Former “SportsCenter” anchor Jamele Hill denied that her ex-ESPN colleague Chris Berman left her a “threatening and racially disparaging voicemail” during a work dispute.
Hill, who now writes about race and culture for ESPN’s sports culture website, described the way her “personal conflict” with Berman has been characterized as “dangerously inaccurate.”
“Chris never left any racially disparaging remarks on my voicemail and our conflict was handled swiftly and with the utmost professionalism,” Hill wrote on Twitter Monday night.
The voicemail allegations surfaced Monday when former ESPN host Adrienne Lawrence filed a discrimination lawsuit against the network claiming “SportsCenter” anchor John Buccigross sexually harassed her. Lawrence alleges that Buccigross made repeated unwanted sexual advances and that the company inadequately responded to formal complaints she filed with ESPN’s human resources department.
The complaint, filed in federal court, also describes ESPN as a workplace “rife with misogyny.”
Among the allegations were one pertaining to Hill and Berman. According to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by Deadline, Lawrence claims Berman left a voicemail for Hill in 2016. The suit states:
In early 2016, ESPN’s The Undefeated personality Jemele Hill received a threatening and racially disparaging voicemail from [Chris] Berman on her ESPN phone line. After Hill notified executive Marcia Keegan (who oversaw Hill’s show His & Hers at the time and had been a senior director in HR) about the matter and forwarded the voicemail to her, nothing was done. Despite his continued and repeated misconduct toward women, Berman remains a celebrated and welcome ESPN employee.
ESPN denied the allegations against the network and said it would fight the lawsuit in court. Hill hit back at the claim over Twitter, noting she was more disappointed in Lawrence’s decision to “misrepresent and relay a private conversation” without her knowledge.
Hill made headlines in October when she was suspended for two weeks for violating ESPN’s social media policy and tweeting that President Donald Trump was a white supremacist and unfit for office. The tweet prompted the White House press secretary to call the remark a “fireable offense” during a news briefing.
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