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ESPN anchor Jemele Hill suspended after encouraging Dallas Cowboys boycott on Twitter

  • ESPN anchor Jemele Hill was suspended for two weeks after violating the company's social media guidelines.
  • Hill had called for a boycott of the Dallas Cowboys and its sponsors on Twitter after reports surfaced that owner Jerry Jones would not let any athlete play who "disrespects the flag" by kneeling during the national anthem.
  • Hill had previously tweeted that President Donald Trump is a "bigot" and "a white supremacist," but the company did not suspend her at the time because of the context around the tweet.

ESPN anchor Jemele Hill was suspended for two weeks after violating ESPN's social media guidelines, according to the company.

"Jemele Hill has been suspended for two weeks for a second violation of our social media guidelines," ESPN said in a statement. "She previously acknowledged letting her colleagues and company down with an impulsive tweet. In the aftermath, all employees were reminded of how individual tweets may reflect negatively on ESPN and that such actions would have consequences. Hence this decision."

ESPN told CNBC Hill was suspended not because of a single tweet but because of series of tweets that "brought the company into a conversation it didn't belong in."

In several tweets on Monday, Hill said a "more powerful statement" against Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was to boycott watching the team and buying its merchandise, as well as boycotting its advertisers. The tweet was in response to Jones' statements that any player who "disrespects the flag" by kneeling during the national anthem would not be allowed to play. Hill added on Twitter she was not advocating an NFL boycott, but pointing out an "unfair burden" for players on teams with anthem protest rules.

A source with knowledge of the situation told CNBC the suspension was in accordance with the company's social media guidelines, which Hill violated when she called on her followers to boycott the Cowboys' sponsors. Some of those advertisers also are ESPN clients.

Hill had previously called President Donald Trump a "bigot" and "a white supremacist who has surrounded himself with other white supremacists" on Twitter. Trump demanded an apology for the "untruth" on Twitter, but ESPN decided not to suspend her at the time because of the context of the tweet, according to CEO Bob Iger. Hill apologized to ESPN at the time for painting them in an "unfair light."

— Additional reporting by Julia Boorstin.

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