Disney, ESPN’s parent company, is one of many large corporations requiring all employees to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, which has led to more than 722,000 deaths in the United States. As ESPN PR’s Mike Soltys shared in the first link there (an Aug. 2 Bristol Press piece on the Disney mandate, which was set to kick in this month), ESPN actually put in an earlier mandate of Aug. 1 for the people working live events for them. That included sideline reporters like Allison Williams.
Williams shared on Twitter last month that she wasn’t on the sidelines for ESPN’s college football coverage due to that mandate for live events staffers. With the wider corporate mandate now kicking in, unvaccinated employees have now had to make a further choice. Some, like Sage Steele, have grudgingly gotten a vaccine after previously bashing it. Others, like Williams, are choosing to leave the company instead. Williams revealed that decision in a five-minute video posted to her Instagram page Friday:
A full transcription of Williams’ comments follows. End notes reflect unsourced statements Williams makes that do not align with current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on COVID-19 vaccines, with those guidelines based on peer-reviewed scientific research. Links to specific information on those claims are available after the transcription. For now, though, here’s a transcription of what Williams said:
“So I know I’ve been a bit mum since releasing the statement I put out a few months ago on my decision to not receive the COVID-19 vaccine. I just want to give everyone an update on my situation with ESPN. A great producer once told me ‘Don’t bury the lede.’ So I have been denied my request for accommodation by ESPN and the Walt Disney Company, and effective next week I will be separated from the company.”