News and PR Insights from 5W Public Relations CEO Ronn Torossian

Skipper Claims Resignation Inspired by “Extortion Plot”

ronn torossian

You don’t normally hear the terms “Disney” and “extortion” in the same story, but you’re about to. You may or may not be aware that ESPN President John Skipper recently resigned from his role in that company. There were many people speculating as to why, but most sources remained tight lipped on the issue.

Not Skipper. He got right out in front of the story, stifling rumors about why he was fired with a story that shocked people even more.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Skipper opened up about his side of the story, and it was a real headline-grabber. In the interview, Skipper said he resigned from his job with ESPN because of a plot involving cocaine and extortion threats. With that bombshell opening, Skipper continued, admitting that he was a frequent cocaine user, but that he had “been careful” about his usage. Until the day, that is, when he chose to seek out a new source to support his habit. That, Skipper confessed, created problems:

“They threatened me, and I understood immediately that threat put me and my family at risk, and this exposure would put my professional life at risk as well… I foreclosed that possibility by disclosing the details to my family, and then when I discussed it with Bob, he and I agreed that I had placed the company in an untenable position and as a result, I should resign…”

Apparently, it was decided that “untenable position” was likely, because the resignation came shortly thereafter. When asked if the cocaine habit had any effect on his work, Skipper admitted there was a bit, but nothing that affected the quality of his work: a missed plane and a few canceled appointments… “I worked hard, I worked smart. I worked all the time… I did a very good job…”

It was pretty clear the cocaine angle caught some people, including the interviewer, off guard. They were thinking Skipper might have been culled as part of the #MeToo movement, a rumor Skipper squashed quickly. He was adamant his resignation had absolutely nothing to do with any sexual misconduct. Just the cocaine. He insisted he would not have resigned or gone public with this information if there was any other option, adding: “It was inappropriate for the president of ESPN and an officer of The Walt Disney Company to be associated in any way with any of this…”

Neither ESPN nor Disney commented on the interview or had anything else to say about Skipper, his resignation or admitted cocaine use.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5W Public Relations.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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