Bob Iger, Disney CEO: ESPN’s political pendulum swung ‘a little bit too far’ in recent years
Attacks on conservative positions and President Trump by ESPN talent in recent years were “a little bit” too much for Disney CEO Bob Iger.
The man who controls Disney’s empire told The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday that he is thrilled with job that Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN President, has done since taking the network’s reins earlier this year.
“I have nothing but praise for the job Jimmy Pitaro has done at ESPN,” Mr. Iger said. “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. And 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. ... He has brought back some balance.”
Mr. Iger’s comments came just weeks after “First Take” co-host Max Kellerman blasted golf icon Tiger Woods’ refusal to demonize Mr. Trump.
Mr. Woods told a reporter on Aug. 26 that all Americans should “respect the office,” no matter who occupies the White House.“I want to say something about what Tiger Woods said,” Mr. Kellerman responded afterward. “I’m angry at what Tiger Woods said. 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 officeholder should have respect for the office.”
ESPN has also been criticized for its coverage of the NFL’s ongoing national anthem protests, along with former host Jemele Hill’s was disciplined by the network in 2017 for her assertion that Mr. Trump is a “white supremacist.”
Ms. Hill left the network earlier this summer and is now working with basketball star Lebron James on a documentary series titled “Shut Up and Dribble” itself a reference to commentary by conservative Fox News star Laura Ingraham.
Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists. Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) September 11, 2017