Disney CEO Bob Iger on why ESPN's Jemele Hill wasn't punished for Trump tweets
By Ben Fritz and Joe Flint
CEO said recent events have angered many Americans, particularly those who are black
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.--Walt Disney Co. (DIS) Chief Executive Robert Iger was personally involved in the decision not to discipline ESPN's Jemele Hill after she tweeted that President Donald Trump was a "white supremacist," the CEO said Tuesday, adding that he felt that recent political events outweighed the company's social-media strictures.
Ms. Hill, who co-anchors the 6 p.m. edition of ESPN's popular show "SportsCenter," tweeted on Sept. 11 that Mr. Trump and those he has surrounded himself with are white supremacists. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said that tweet and others by Ms. Hill represented a "fireable offense." Mr. Trump also blasted ESPN, saying its politics were costing it viewers and revenue.
Also read:ESPN in Trump's crosshairs as network adjusts to sports in a political world (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/espn-caught-in-trumps-cross-hairs-as-network-adjusts-to-sports-in-a-political-world-2017-09-15)
Disney-owned ESPN said Ms. Hill had violated its social media policies and that her tweets were inappropriate and didn't represent the views of ESPN. However, she wasn't suspended from her "SportsCenter" duties.
Mr. Iger said recent events have angered many Americans, particularly those who are black. "A little empathy in that regard would go a long way," he added. "I felt we needed to take into account what Jemele and other people at ESPN were feeling at this time. That resulted in us not taking action on the tweet that she put out."
An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com (https://www.wsj.com/articles/disneys-iger-says-empathy-led-him-not-to-punish-espns-jemele-hill-over-tweets-1507073609)