Disney has been forced to slash personnel across multiple companies.
ESPN in particular has been hit hard by layoffs.
Now Disney is furious after ESPN got caught pulling one embarrassing hoax.
Disney has been toying with the idea of spinning off ESPN, as the sports network is not the cash cow it once was.
Live sports still do well in terms of advertising, but the plethora of debate shows and other programs are not drawing the same eyeballs.
And Disney might again consider cutting ESPN loose after the “worldwide leader in sports” got busted submitting fake names to secure Emmys for on-air talent.
The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) had a rule that prohibited on-air personalities from receiving awards granted to the overall production of a particular show but they could win for separate categories such as “outstanding host.”
The Athletic reported that “[s]ince at least 2010, ESPN inserted fake names in Emmy entries, then took the awards won by some of those imaginary individuals, had them re-engraved and gave them to on-air personalities.”
For example, football commentator Kirk Herbstreit was credited as “Kirk Henry.”
NFL anchor Samantha Ponder, who goes by Sam, was given the fake credit as Steven Ponder.
She was “gender-transitioned” in the fake award process, which is ironic because she’s been one of the few people at ESPN to speak out against biological males competing in women’s sports.
The scheme was apparently done without the knowledge of any of the ESPN on-air personalities.
ESPN said in a statement, “Some members of our team were clearly wrong in submitting certain names that may go back to 1997 in Emmy categories where they were not eligible for recognition or statuettes. This was a misguided attempt to recognize on-air individuals who were important members of our production team. Once current leadership was made aware, we apologized to NATAS for violating guidelines and worked closely with them to completely overhaul our submission process to safeguard against anything like this happening again. We brought in outside counsel to conduct a full and thorough investigation and individuals found to be responsible were disciplined by ESPN.”
As embarrassing as the ESPN scandal is, it’s even worse when so-called mainstream news media outlets pull off similar hoaxes.
The New York Times still has not renounced its Pulitzer for Walter Duranty’s fraudulent reporting about the Soviet Union.
Adam Sharp of NATAS said in a statement, “NATAS identified a number of fictitious credits submitted by ESPN to multiple Sports Emmys competitions. When brought to the attention of ESPN senior management, the network took steps to take responsibility for the actions of its personnel, to investigate thoroughly, and to course correct. These steps have included the return by ESPN of statuettes issued to fictitious individuals and commitments to implement further internal accountability and procedural changes at the network.”
ESPN should be less worried about pushing “woke” agendas and more worried about handing out fake awards.