With publisher Little, Brown and Company lifting its embargo on book excerpts, Entertainment Weekly was the first major publication to give more sizzling material from “Those Guys Have All The Fun: Inside the World of ESPN” by Jim Miller and Tom Shales before its official release next Tuesday.
Among the stuff that EW found dirty/funny with some shelf life (linked here):
== “The company would have Christmas parties up at some horrible place in Bristol,” says former general counsel Andy Brilliant. “A couple of them were drunken orgies…. It became like a big frat party. There were a lot of drugs being done in the bathroom. There was quite a bit of screwing going on afterward, a lot of it extramarital. But everybody went back to business the next workday.”
== “There was screwing in the hallways,” says reporter Sal Marchiano of ESPN’s early days. “OK, maybe not in the hallways, but there were a couple of stairwell stories…. There were drugs in the building, that I knew. There was one guy who dealt pot.”
Don’t take the elevator! Head to the stairs!
== At one point in the ’80s ESPN kept an apartment in New York City. “I remember [an ESPN exec] coming in and saying, ‘We gotta get rid of this apartment…because the mail boys got a couple of our secretaries hooking over there,’” says former ESPN CEO Bill Grimes. “Hooking! That’s what he said…. ‘They’re making money after work when no one’s there. It’s getting out of control.’”
Hookers! Out of control!
== Sexual harassment got so bad that anchor Karie Ross actually stood up in front of 200 or so people in the cafeteria and demanded that it stop. Her plea didn’t have much impact. “No fewer than fifty cases of sexual harassment were reported by women on the staff to ESPN management in the first half of the 1990s,” the authors write.
No one cares, Karie!
== “I was introduced to [Chris Berman], and my title was mentioned,” recalls marketing senior VP Lee Ann Daly. “He was like, ‘Oh, goddammit, do we need another vice president?’ And I just said, ‘Nice to meet you, too, Mr. Berman.’ ….there was really no need to be a jerk. But that kind of stuck with me. I noticed that Chris Berman was rarely happy. He was always very difficult to please.”
Oh, happy day!
On SI.com, executive vice president of content John Skipper was asked during the ESPN upfront presentation in New York about the perception of “a frat-boy culture” on the company’s Bristol, Conn., campus — not so much in light of the book excerpts but of NHL analyst Matthew Barnaby being pulled off the air after being charged with a felony over a domestic incident with his estranged wife in Amherst, N.Y.. He pleaded not guilty to five criminal charges, said there was no violence between and him and his soon to be ex-wife and and apologized for the “unfortunate incident.”
“We do not condone that kind of activity,” Skipper said. “In fact, we’ve taken lots and lots of steps to create policies. We’re fairly stringent when people do things. We suspend people. We fire people.
“It is clear to everybody who works for us we are not going to tolerate it. It’s just human nature, human behavior. No, we don’t have a culture run amok. It’s a phrase everybody likes to use now. We have a culture of hard work, and achievement and serving fans. We have a lot of employees. A few of them, every now and then, do something stupid.”
Like talk to book authors.