Allison Williams is departing ESPN over the company’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The 37-year-old college football and basketball reporter joined the network in 2011.
“I have been denied my request for accommodation by ESPN and The Walt Disney Company” Williams began in a video posted to Instagram. “Effective next week, I will be separated from the company.”
The Walt Disney Company, which co-owns ESPN, announced in July that salaried and nonunion hourly U.S. employees must be fully vaccinated in order to return to work. Williams previously said she doesn’t want to get the vaccine while she and her husband try for a second child. (Major ob-gyn and fertility organizations support the vaccine.)
Williams went on to explain she believes women who say they’ve had no fertility issues after getting the vaccine, as well as women who say they’ve experienced menstrual irregularities.
“Belief is a word I’ve been thinking about a lot lately because in addition to the medical apprehensions regarding my desire to have another child in regards to receiving this injection, I am also so morally and ethically not aligned with this [mandate],” Williams continued, “and I’ve had to really dig deep and analyze my values and my morals, and ultimately I need to put them first.”
She added: “I cannot put a paycheck over principle. I will not sacrifice something that I believe and hold so strongly to maintain a career.”
Williams’s post was met with praise and criticism. Among those cheering on the sports reporter was her ESPN colleague, Sage Steele.
“You are amazing,” the SportsCenter anchor wrote. “So much love, respect & prayers coming your way!”
Steele made headlines weeks ago for slamming the company’s vaccine policy, calling it “sick” and “scary.” However, she received the vaccine in order to keep her job.
Steele explains how she felt getting the COVID-19 vaccine: