Disney CEO Bob Iger admitted that ESPN has become overly political.
When asked by The Hollywood Reporter in a new interview published Thursday
how the sports network has changed over the past year, Iger said that the
network is working on reeling in its politics and focusing on sports.
"There’s been a big debate about whether ESPN should be focused more on
what happens on the field of sport than what happens in terms of where
sports is societally or politically," Iger said.
Iger then explained that its new president, Jimmy Pitaro, who replaced
longtime executive John Skipper in March, is working towards refocusing
the network. Skipper shocked the media industry by leaving ESPN last year
when a drug dealer attempted to extort him by using his cocaine habit
against him. Prior to his sudden exit, Skipper was reguarly accused of
making ESPN a left-leaning network.
"Jimmy felt that the pendulum may have swung a little bit too far away
from the field. And I happen to believe he was right," Iger told the
magazine. "He has brought back some balance."
Under Skipper, the network was accused of various examples of bias, such
as spending too much time covering Colin Kaepernick’s protests and
awarding the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to Caitlyn Jenner.
ESPN president John Skipper says he is resigning to take care of a
substance abuse problem. The announcement comes amid growing controversies
at the network including sexual harassment claims, layoffs, and political
Far-left voices such as Jemele Hill were rewarded with high-profile gigs,
while conservative personalities such as Curt Schilling were silenced
(Schilling was fired in 2016 after sharing a Facebook post regarding the
North Carolina law that banned transgender people from using specific
Hill -- who famously called President Trump a “white supremacist” on
Twitter last year -- left ESPN this month. She also called Trump a “bigot”
and “unqualified and unfit to be president.” Skipper moved her to the
flagship “SportsCenter,” but she was eventually reassigned under Pitaro
before leaving the network altogether.
Author Clay Travis, a frequent critic of ESPN, regularly referred to Hill
and Michael Smith’s now-defunct, urban version network’s flagship
“Sportscenter” as “WokeCenter” because the show regularly touched on
“They finally have executives in charge of the business who have realized
WokeCenter is bad for ESPN’s brands. Sports fans don’t want to see sports
and left wing politics mixed ad nauseum,” Travis recently wrote. “The best
way to cure a toxic brand? Get rid of the people who made that brand
The network still employs anti-Trump former MSNBC star Keith Olbermann,
but he’s stayed relatively quiet when it comes to spouting political
opinions since ESPN announced his expanded role under Pitaro.
However, Pitaro hasn’t stripped all liberal talking points from ESPN. Last
month, “First Take” co-host Max Kellerman made headlines by slamming Tiger
Woods’ response to questions about President Trump.
“You have to respect the office. No matter who is in the office, you may
like, dislike personality or the politics, but we all must respect the
office,” Woods told reporters when asked about Trump.
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JULY 11: ESPN host Jemele Hill at BODY at ESPYS at Avalon
on July 11, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by John Sciulli/Getty
Images for ESPN)
Jemele Hill -- who famously called President Trump a “white supremacist”
on Twitter last year -- left ESPN this month. (Photo by John
Sciulli/Getty Images for ESPN)
Kellerman blasted Woods’ remarks, saying it was a “thoughtless statement
dressed up as a thoughtful statement,” while essentially calling Woods
dumb for having his own opinion.
“And it either holds in contempt the intelligence of people who hear it or
else it’s just a stupid thing to say. … To say you must have respect for
the office — Tiger, be clear. Are you saying that the office, therefore,
confers respect onto its present temporary occupant? No. Having respect
for the office means principally, in my view, is the office holder should
have respect for the office,” Kellerman said.
Iger has long been rumored to have political aspirations and recently
named "the most powerful person in entertainment” by The Hollywood
Reporter. The Disney honcho was given 60/1 odds of winning the 2020
election by gambling website Bovada.
Donald J. Trump, 304 electoral votes to 227, defeated compulsive liar in
denial Hillary Rodham Clinton on December 19th, 2016. The clown car
parade of the democrat party ran out of gas and got run over by a Trump
Congratulations President Trump. Thank you for cleaning up the disaster
of the Obama presidency.
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