If ESPN Wants to Discipline Jemele Hill, She Might Have Law on Her Side

Two days after the White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that tweets by an ESPN host disparaging President Trump were a "fireable offense," she added on Friday that the network "should hold anchors to a fair and consistent standard."

Any disciplining of the host, Jemele Hill, however, might be out of legal bounds for ESPN. The network is based in Bristol, Conn., and a Connecticut statute provides free-speech protections beyond the First Amendment, making it illegal for ESPN to punish Hill, according to some labor lawyers.

"Jemele Hill was speaking about an important issue of public concern, one of the most crucial issues of current political life, and the statute was intended to protect people who say things just like what she said," said James Bhandary-Alexander, a lawyer at the New Haven Legal Assistance Association who frequently represents workers who are disciplined by employers for their speech.

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