Jemele Hill and Spotify have mutually decided to end their podcast partnership, TheWrap has learned. This development came as the journalist had been negotiating her departure with the company for months.
“Spotify and Jemele Hill have mutually agreed to part ways,” Spotify and Hill said in a joint statement shared with TheWrap. “From the debut of the award-winning podcast ‘Jemele Hill Is Unbothered’ to the launch of the Unbothered Network, we are incredibly proud of our partnership and the work we produced together over the past four-plus years.”
Spotify concluded the statement, saying: “We wish Jemele all the best and look forward to seeing and hearing her future creative endeavors.”
Hill, who hosted her “Jemele Hill Is Unbothered” podcast, launched the series on Spotify in April 2019, spanning over 240 episodes and featuring A-list guests including Issa Rae, Vice President Kamala Harris and Ava DuVernay. She then expanded her relationship with the platform by creating the Unbothered Network, which consisted of podcasts hosted by Black women and centered on issues relating to the Black community.
Back in June, a spokesperson for Spotify told TheWrap there were “discussions” about Hill negotiating the terms of a possible separation.
The parties’ mutual decision to end the podcast deal came in the months following Spotify’s layoffs as a result of larger restructuring within its podcast business in June. Hill’s leave may also be attributed to the failed agreement, in which Spotify didn’t deliver Hill’s request for Black podcasters to be paid in line with a podcast star like the divisive Joe Rogan, who was receiving a reported “at least $200 million,” per The New York Times.
“What I would like to see is for them to hand $100 million to somebody who is Black,” Hill said during a 2022 interview with the Times.
In February 2022, Spotify launched a $100 million creator equity fund targeted toward promoting diversity, though Bloomberg reported that the initiative wasn’t close to fulfilling its multi-million-dollar promise.