Former ESPN President and Co-Chairman of Disney Media Networks John Skipper, who resigned suddenly in December, revealed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that his exit, attributed at the time to his desire to get treatment for substance addiction, was prompted by an extortion plot.
For Skipper, 62, his resignation brought an abrupt end to a 27-year career with Disney. Pressed by THR contributor James Andrew Miller to explain why he stepped down, Skipper says: “In December, someone from whom I bought cocaine attempted to extort me.”
Skipper adds: “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 [Iger], he and I agreed that I had placed the company in an untenable position and as a result, I should resign.”
Skipper also says: “Look, it was inappropriate for the president of ESPN and an officer of The Walt Disney Co. to be associated in any way with any of this. I do want to make it clear, however, that anything I did in this regard, and anything else resulting from this, was a personal problem. My drug use never had any professional repercussions, but I still have profound regret. I accept that the consequences of my actions are my responsibility and have been appropriate. I also have to accept that I used very poor judgment.”
We encourage readers to click on the link above to THR to read the full interview.