Marc Lamont Hill was quickly fired after comments he made about the Israel-Palestine conflict. For many people, the firing was too swift, however, it is a quick reminder of the lack of diversity at CNN. In addition, it is a reminder of how CNN wronged one of their most popular anchors in the early 2000s, Soledad O’Brien.
O’Brien worked at CNN from 2003 to 2013, but after years of incredible work, including the “Black in America” series, when Jeff Zucker joined the network as the president, she was terminated. CNN gave O’Brien a show called “Starting Point” in 2012, but it did not last long. As she said after she was let go in 2013, “We did not get a lot of promotion. We did not get a lot of marketing. We weren’t fully staffed. That’s just what happened.” She was reportedly promised a prime-time show, which never happened under Zucker. O’Brien was pushed out to allegedly make room for Erin Burnett. Clearly, she did not fit the new CNN “vision.”
O’Brien has been critical of her former employer, especially when CNN tweeted a link to a story with the following text, “President Donald Trump has no black people in the senior White House staff.”
O’Brien recently called out the network for putting racists on air, writing on Twitter, “This exactly—they give a platform—and their credibility—to racists/white supremacists/ all in the name of ‘hearing them out’ (which is a ratings ploy btw).” See below:
None of CNN’s 15 executives are Black, and the network has faced several racial discrimination lawsuits over the years. In a lawsuit from April of 2017, CNN was accused of doing the following: “African-Americans receive lower performance ratings in evaluations, there are dramatic differences in pay between similarly situated employees of different races and that the promotion of African-American employees is blocked by a ‘glass ceiling.’ … African-American employees have endured slurs from superiors, including ‘It’s hard to manage Black people’ and ‘Who would be worth more: Black slaves from times past, or new slaves?'” The lawsuit was dismissed.
Considering their history, CNN deserves some serious side-eyes for firing Marc Lamont Hill.