Three strikes against ESPN this week have the liberal network whiffing further at respectability. On Monday, ESPN President John Skipper gave into an employee backlash and cancelled a partnership with Barstool Sports for sexually degrading remarks about Sam Ponder, NFL Countdown host. Strike two was Jenn Sterger's revelation that she had twice been sexually harassed during phony job interviews with ESPN. And the Worldwide leader (in sports liberalism) took a third strike today with reports that it will lay off 40-60 employees before the end of the year.
The Sporting News' Michael McCarthy, who covers sports media, business and marketing, reported today that "More bad news could be on the horizon for ESPN." Actually bad news has hovered over ESPN for quite some time. He wrote the layoffs are likely in late November or early December. Television and radio personalities and production staff are all vulnerable. "This time it won't matter if you're 'liked' or not. It's not going to be pretty," an unidentified source told McCarthy.
McCarthy writes about ESPN's struggles "from the triple-whammy of a shrinking subscriber base, expensive billion-dollar TV rights for the NFL, NBA and other sports, and bloated talent costs. The network pays $1.9 billion annually for Monday Night Football and another $1.4 billion for the NBA. Don't forget ESPN is still paying millions of dollars in severance costs to many of the 100 anchors/reporters laid off in late April." Note what's conspicuous by its absence: lost audience due to ESPN's liberal bias.
To use a tennis phrase, ESPN is just making one unforced error after another -- which isn't surprising considering the liberal management at parent Disney and the Bristol, Connecticut headquarters. Firings, suspensions, liberal policies and bad fiscal management are the order of the day. And now Sterger alleges ESPN employees are guilty of what amounts to sexual harassment.
Sterger became famous in 2010 for being the unwilling recipient of photos of Brett Favre's private parts when both worked for the Jets. Earlier this week, she tweeted that ESPN is every bit as guilty as Barstool of foul treatment of women. She tweeted that she had twice been invited to meet with ESPN under the false pretense that she was being considered for employment.
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In Charlotte, N.C., in 2007, Sterger was given the impression she was interviewing for an on-air job with ESPN and instead was humiliated by being taken to a strip club. An unidentified ESPN person also hit on her.
For the second phony interview, in Bristol in 2008, ESPN employees were "super vague and nondescript about what they were looking for. They had me come in, and paraded me around the place. Then took me into the office for some weird line of questioning. Asking me if I had hooked up with ‘so and so’ etc. or ‘this person’ or ‘that person’ … this was my job interview,” she said. An ESPN employee drove her home and said he had helped the careers of "numerous girls" who had hooked up with him.
Sterger says: “I later found out through a friend that works there they only brought me in to show his coworkers I was ‘just as f–kable in person as I was in pictures.’ That and he insinuated he and I had hooked up …. Which NEVER happened.”
ESPN denies it has any record of employee wrongdoing regarding Sterger, but indicated it will investigate. The timing of Sterger's allegations is awful for ESPN, given the Barstool controversy and the Worldwide Leader's original decision to partner with an organization already known for hurling profane and public sexual attacks at women.
Today's ESPN damage control report follows on the heels of the recent suspension of co-anchor Jemele Hill for suggesting advertisers boycott the Dallas Cowboys. She had shockingly escaped punishment for calling President Trump and his supporters "white supremacists." ESPN is losing customers, its programming is growing increasingly unpopular and its NFL broadcast ratings are down. The liberally biased network often strays from sports to address social and political issues and does so with no balance whatsoever.
This week's events have exposed ESPN's facade as a "champion" of women in the work place and revealed that its financial problems are still significant.