ESPN President John Skipper resigns citing substance abuse issue
John Skipper, President of ESPN, INC, and co-chairman, Disney Media Networks addresses the media in Digital Center 2, a new 194,000 sq. ft building on the ESPN campus in Bristol, Connecticut May 22, 2014 will be the new home of SportsCenter beginning June 2014. The facility includes 5 broadcast studios, 6 production control rooms, 4 audio control rooms and 16 edit suites. REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY MEDIA) - TM3EA5M1HOS01
ESPN President John Skipper announced Monday he is resigning from the network due to a substance addiction problem.
"I have struggled for many years with a substance addiction. I have decided that the most important thing I can do right now is to take care of my problem," Skipper said in a statement.
Skipper said he and the company have "mutually agreed" it was appropriate for him to resign.
"I come to this public disclosure with embarrassment, trepidation and a feeling of having let others I care about down," Skipper's statement continued. "As I deal with this issue and what it means to me and my family, I ask for appropriate privacy and a little understanding."
Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger announced former ESPN President George Bodenheimer will serve as Acting Chair of ESPN for the next 90 days until they find a full time replacement for Skipper.
Skipper joined the Disney-owned network in 1997. He became president of ESPN in 2012.
Skipper's exit comes after a rocky year for the sports network.
Just last week, a bombshell report described ESPN's culture as one of hostility and sexual misconduct toward women.
The report by The Boston Globe specifically named several men employed by or affiliated with ESPN as being subjects of harassment complaints.
Interviews conducted by The Boston Globe with roughly two dozen current and former employees portrayed a “locker room culture,” where men regularly made unwanted sexual advances to female colleagues, gave unsolicited shoulder rubs and rated women based on their looks.
The network laid off 150 employees in November after letting go an additional 100 employees, including several veterans in April like Ed Werder, Trent Dilfer and Danny Kanell.
ESPN came under fire in August after they pulled an announcer from a college football game named Robert Lee because his name is similar to that of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. The network also faced heat after suspending Jemele Hill in October after she violated their social media guidelines twice for calling on Twitter for people to boycott advertisers over the NFL protests and for calling President Trump a "white supremacist."
ESPN also cancelled "Barstool Van Talk" in October after one episode amid outcry over the Barstool's brand's commentary on women.