Allison Williams, a veteran reporter who has worked for ESPN on the sidelines of college football and basketball games for a decade, has announced she will be leaving the network after choosing not to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
In a video posted to Instagram over the weekend, Williams shared that ESPN's parent company, Disney, had "denied her request for accommodation" to remain unvaccinated and that she would be "separated from the company" by this week.
According to USA Today, ESPN has required that staffers who attend live events get vaccinated against COVID-19 since the beginning of August. Earlier this month, it expanded that mandate to all employees.
Williams said her decision not to get vaccinated was due to her "medical apprehensions regarding my desire to have another child."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "there is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes a loss of fertility" for women or men, "now or in the future." The CDC recommends that everyone 12 and up — including pregnant people, people hoping to become pregnant, or people who are breastfeeding — get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Williams also added that she is "morally and ethically not aligned" with ESPN's decision to mandate that employees get vaccinated against COVID-19.
"I cannot put a paycheck over principle. I will not sacrifice something that I believe and hold so strongly to maintain a career," Williams said.
Among those who showed support for Williams in the comments section was Sage Steele, an ESPN anchor who earlier this month called ESPN's vaccine mandate "sick" and "scary.'
"You are amazing," Steele wrote. "So much love, respect & prayers coming your way!"
Williams and Steele are just a handful of the high-profile ESPN employees who have spoken out against the company's vaccine mandate. According to NBC News, ESPN mandated vaccines for more than 5,000 traveling employees by Aug. 1, and all accounts indicate the vast majority complied with the mandate.
The CDC says that those who do not get vaccinated are more than six times more likely to contract the virus and 11 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than those who are vaccinated.