August 31, 2023: Former ESPN anchor Sage Steele said the network “silenced” her and other employees who have spoken out about controversial topics, calling it the opposite of equity, tolerance, and inclusion.
Steele commented in an interview with The Megyn Kelly Show aired on Monday. She said ESPN suspended her in October 2021 after making comments on a podcast about former President Barack Obama’s racial identity.
Steele said she was told by ESPN that her comments were “not aligned with the company’s values.” She said she was also meant to be “silenced” if she spoke out about the incident again.
“I was told I would be silenced if I ever spoke about what happened again,” Steele said. “That’s the opposite of equity, tolerance, and inclusion.”
Steele is not the only ESPN employee who has said the network has silenced them. In April 2022, former ESPN personality Jemele Hill said she was “blackballed” by the network after she made critical comments about President Donald Trump.
ESPN has not commented on Steele’s allegations.
Practical Takeaways for Businesses:
The allegations of silencing by ESPN are a severe matter. Businesses should ensure that their employees feel comfortable speaking out about controversial topics, even if they disagree with the company’s stance.