Marc Lamont Hill

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Marc Lamont Hill
Marc Lamont Hill.jpg
Hill in November 2005
Born (1978-12-17) December 17, 1978 (age 43)
Education Temple University (BS)
University of Pennsylvania (MA, PhD)
  • Academic
  • commentator
  • activist
  • author
Employer Temple University
Political party Green
Website Official website

Marc Lamont Hill (born December 17, 1978) is an American academic, author, activist, and television personality. He is a professor of media studies and urban education at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. [1]


Hill is the host of UpFront on Al Jazeera English. Previously he was the syndicated television show Our World with Black Enterprise and hosts the online Internet-based HuffPost Live. He is also a BET News correspondent, and a former political commentator for CNN and Fox News. Hill also hosts VH1 Live! and reunion shows for Basketball Wives . In November 2018, Hill was fired from his position as a commentator for CNN after remarks before the U.N. on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict that were alleged to be antisemitic. [2] [3]

Early life and education

Hill was born and raised in Philadelphia. When he was 14, Hill met future NBA star Kobe Bryant at a basketball summer camp, and the two became close friends and remained so until Bryant's death. [4] After graduating from Carver High School, a public school in Philadelphia, [5] Hill attended Morehouse College, a private liberal arts college, but says he spent his time "hanging out and getting in trouble", and dropped out of Morehouse when he was a freshman. [6] He finished his undergraduate studies at Temple University, where he received his B.S. in education and Spanish in 2000. He later earned both an MA and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. [7]


From 2005 to 2009, Hill was a professor of urban education and American studies at Temple University. In the fall of 2009, Hill joined the faculty of Teachers College, Columbia University as an associate professor of education. [8] He left Teachers College in 2014 to join the faculty at Morehouse College as Distinguished Professor of African American Studies. [1] In May 2017, it was announced that he was re-joining the faculty of Temple University as the Steve Charles Professor of Media, Cities, and Solutions. [9]

Hill worked as a political contributor for the Fox News Channel from 2007 until 2009, when he was fired. [10] [11] During this time, he appeared on The O'Reilly Factor , Huckabee , and Hannity . [12] Prior to Fox, Hill was a commentator on CNN and MSNBC, as well as Court TV, where he was a weekly contributor to the Star Jones talk show. In August 2010, he replaced Ed Gordon as host of the syndicated television show Our World with Black Enterprise . [13] In May 2012, he joined Huffington Post as a host of HuffPost Live. In January 2021, Hill was named as the host of UpFront on Al Jazeera English, as the permanent replacement for Mehdi Hasan. [14] In March of the same year he was announced as anchor for Black News Tonight, a primetime show on the Black News Channel which would launch the following month. [15]


Hill is a founding board member of My5th, a non-profit organization aiming to educate youth about their legal rights and responsibilities. [12] [16] In 2001, he started a literacy project that uses hip-hop culture to increase school engagement and reading skills among high-school students. He also organizes and teaches adult literacy courses for high school dropouts in Philadelphia and Camden. Hill also works with the ACLU Drug Reform Project, focusing on drug informant policy. [12] Hill was named one of America's top 30 black leaders under the age of 30 by Ebony magazine. [17]

In addition, Hill works with African American and Latino youth. Hill publicly argued for the release of Genarlow Wilson and Shaquanda Cotton. In the Cotton case, Hill organized an internet letter writing campaign. [18] Hill urged the public to write to District Attorney David McDade to express concerns about his desire to appeal the court's decision to void the sentence of Genarlow Wilson. [19] In May 2013, an article by Hill for entitled "Why Aren't We Fighting for CeCe McDonald?" won the GLAAD Media Award for "Outstanding Digital Journalism Article." [20]

On June 12, 2010, Hill alleged that while driving his car, he was unlawfully stopped by two Philadelphia police officers, one of whom was highly regarded at the time—Officer Richard DeCoatsworth. [21] [22] Hill, represented by his brother, attorney Leonard Hill, filed a civil lawsuit on October 12, 2010, against the City of Philadelphia and four police officers, including DeCoatsworth. [23]

Hill expressed support for the Green Party in the 2016 US presidential election. Of candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, he stated: "I would rather have Trump be president for four years and build a real left-wing movement that can get us what we deserve as a people, than to let Hillary be president and we stay locked in the same space where we don't get what we want." [24]


U.N speech on Israel

On November 28, 2018, while speaking in a meeting at the UN marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, [25] Hill said: "We have an opportunity to not just offer solidarity in words but to commit to political action, grass-roots action, local action and international action that will give us what justice requires and that is a free Palestine from the river to the sea." [26] [27] [28]

The Anti-Defamation League alleged that the phrase "river to the sea" is code, often used by Hamas, for the destruction of Israel. [27] [29]

In November 2018, Hill rejected this characterization, saying this was a "call for justice" referring to the existing borders of the Palestinian territories on the Mediterranean Sea (Gaza) and Jordan River (West Bank). Hill replied, "I support Palestinian freedom. I support Palestinian self-determination. I am deeply critical of Israeli policy and practice. I do not support anti-Semitism, killing Jewish people, or any of the other things attributed to my speech. I have spent my life fighting these things." He also said that the "river to the sea" phrase dates to the early 20th century and "has never been the exclusive province of a particular ideological camp", adding "[t]he idea that this is a Hamas phrase is simply untrue." [30] On December 1, 2018, Hill said that "we must reject anti-Semitism in any form or fashion" and apologized "for the reception of my message". Hill wrote in The Philadelphia Inquirer : "justice will come through a single bi-national democratic state that encompasses Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza." [31] [32]

CNN firing

Following his comments about Israel before the U.N., Hill's contract with CNN was terminated by the network. This was confirmed on November 29, 2018, when a CNN spokesperson announced that "Marc Lamont Hill is no longer under contract with CNN." [27] [33] [34]

The firing provoked strongly opposing opinions. The move was criticized by pro-Palestinian activists, who accused the network of caving to pressure from pro-Israeli groups. [25] Aymann Ismail of Slate magazine said the decision set a "dangerous precedent" which was "another step toward recasting all speech about Israel’s brutality as anti-Semitism". [2] Glenn Greenwald remarked that Hill's firing "is a major defeat for the right to advocate for Palestinian rights, to freely critique the Israeli government, and for the ability of journalism and public discourse in the U.S. generally to accommodate dissent." [35] Bentley Addison of The Forward argued that advocating for Palestine is not necessarily anti-Semitic but said that "The fact that Hill used the rhetoric of groups that are violently anti-Semitic is a real problem, and the fact that he seems to advocate violent resistance against Israel should give pause to every supporter of a peaceful outcome to the conflict." [3]

The board of trustees of Temple University, Hill's employer, condemned Hill's words saying they included what "many regard as promoting violence", and in regards to the phrase "from the river to the sea" used by Hill, the trustees said that they are "widely perceived as language that threatens the existence of the State of Israel" that "has been used by anti-Israel terror groups". Furthermore, the trustees said that Hill's words were criticized as "virulent anti-Semitism" and "hate speech". However, as Hill was not representing the school and that as a "private individual is entitled to the same Constitutional protection of any other citizen, and that he has through subsequent statements expressly rejected anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic violence", the trustees decided not to dismiss nor discipline Hill. [36] [37]

Louis Farrakhan

After a meeting with Louis Farrakhan in 2016, Hill said on Instagram: "Been blessed to spend the last day with Minister Louis Farrakhan. An amazing time of learning, listening, laughing, and even head nodding to music. God is Great." [38] [39] The photograph of Hill with Louis Farrakhan, long accused of antisemitism, resurfaced in October 2018. Lamont Hill said at this time that although he disagreed with Farrakhan on some issues, "I will not allow that to be an excuse for allowing dishonest media or poorly intentioned observers to create unnecessary division" adding he would "not be told who to speak to, sit with, or engage." [40] He said he was unaware the image was being used for commercial purposes by the Nation of Islam website and would ask for it to be removed as it was inconsistent with "my values and my professional standards". He said that he did now believe Farrakhan to be an antisemite and was utterly opposed to Farrakhan's then-recent comparison of Jews to termites. [41] [40] [42]

Appearing on The Breakfast Club radio program in December 2018, Hill said that, while he does not agree with Farrakhan on all issues:

For some reason, if you meet with Minister Farrakhan and you don’t throw him away wholesale, then you’re castigated in a way that doesn’t happen with anybody else. Why is only one set of people untouchable? And why does every black leader have to ritually denounce Farrakhan in order to sustain a position? That doesn’t happen to anyone else. [43] [44]


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  1. 1 2 "Marc Lamont Hill Joining the Faculty at Morehouse College ‹ Morehouse College News Center". July 23, 2014. Archived from the original on July 26, 2016. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  2. 1 2 Ismail, Aymann (November 30, 2018). "In Firing Marc Lamont Hill, CNN Emboldened the Effort to Cast Israel's Critics as Anti-Semites". Slate . Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  3. 1 2 Addison, Bentley (November 30, 2018). "Demonizing Israel Isn't Anti-Semitic — But Marc Lamont Hill Crossed The Line". The Forward. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  4. "A Man Apart: Childhood Friend Marc Lamont Hill Reflects on Kobe Bryant's Legacy on and off the Court". BET .
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  21. Hill, Marc Lamont (March 15, 2011). "Marc Lamont Hill: Suit spoke for all victims of unjust police stops". Retrieved October 17, 2018.
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  24. Love, David (August 8, 2016). "What Does the Green Party Offer for Black Voters that Differs from Clinton and Trump?". Atlanta Black Star. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
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  28. Adam Shaw (29 November 2018). "CNN commentator accused of dog-whistling for Israel's elimination in well-received UN speech". Fox News. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  29. Hod, Itay; Levine, Jon (November 29, 2018). "Why CNN's Marc Lamont Hill Picked the Wrong Week to Make Anti-Israel Comments". The Wrap. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
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  31. "Marc Lamont Hill apologizes for urging 'free Palestine from river to sea'". The Times of Israel . 3 December 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
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  33. Aidan McLaughlin (November 29, 2018). "EXCLUSIVE: CNN Fires Marc Lamont Hill Following Israel Comments". Mediaite. Retrieved November 29, 2018. CNN severed ties with contributor Marc Lamont Hill on Thursday, following comments the university professor made about Israel and Palestine in a speech at the United Nations. “Marc Lamont Hill is no longer under contract with CNN,” a CNN spokesperson told Mediaite.
  34. Keller, Megan (November 29, 2018). "CNN cuts ties with Marc Lamont Hill after Israel comments". The Hill. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  35. Greenwald, Glenn (November 30, 2018). "CNN Submits to Right-Wing Outrage Mob, Fires Marc Lamont Hill Due to His "Offensive" Defense of Palestinians at the U.N." The Intercept . Retrieved October 19, 2021.
  36. TyLisa C. Johnson (December 11, 2018). "Temple trustees condemn controversial remarks by Marc Lamont Hill, but affirm his right to free speech". The Philadelphia Inquirer . Archived from the original on February 27, 2021.
  37. Stanley-Becker, Isaac (December 12, 2018). "CNN fired him for speech some deemed anti-Semitic. But his university says the Constitution protects him". The Washington Post.
  38. "ZOA pushes professor's firing from CNN, Temple University, for promoting Farrakhan". Jewish News Syndicate. October 24, 2018. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  39. "After CNN Highlights Persistence of Bigotry Against Jews, Network Personality Spouts Anti-Semitism At United Nations Event". B’nai B’rith International. November 28, 2018. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  40. 1 2 Darcy, Oliver (November 30, 2018). "CNN severs ties with liberal pundit Marc Lamont Hill after his controversial remarks on Israel". CNN. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  41. Levine, Jon (October 19, 2018). "Louis Farrakhan Uses CNN Contributor to Promote $260 Music Box Set". TheWrap . Retrieved November 30, 2018. Hill said the photo was taken sometime in the autumn of 2016 after the minister invited a number of people to a Wyoming farm
  42. Wulfsohn, Joseph A. (October 19, 2018). "CNN Contributor Marc Lamont Hill Denounces Louis Farrakhan After a Photo of the Two of Them Surfaces". Mediaite . Retrieved November 30, 2018. Hill explained that the photo was taken at a gathering in 2016 where invitees got to listen to Farrakhan’s new album.
  43. Farrakhan, Louis; Gates, Henry Louis (1996). "Farrakhan Speaks". Transition (70): 140–167. doi:10.2307/2935354. ISSN   0041-1191. JSTOR   2935354.
  44. Kenney, Tanasia (December 17, 2018). "Marc Lamont Hill Has No Plans to Denounce Farrakhan: 'I Ain't Got the Luxury of Throwing People Who Love Us Away'". Atlanta Black Star. Retrieved December 18, 2018.