Thursday, February 25, 2010

ESPN Suspends TONY KORNHEISER Over Hannah Storm latest Comments

ESPN has suspended Pardon the Interruption co-host Tony Kornheiser after saying on his radio show last week that his colleague, SportsCenter anchor Hannah Storm, was wearing "a horrifying, horrifying outfit" and a "very, very tight shirt."
The Big Lead passes along the news that Kornheiser is suspended for "a few days" as a result of his comments.

Kornheiser was obviously trying to be funny when he said of Storm, "She looks like she has sausage casing wrapping around her upper body ... I know she's very good, and I'm not supposed to be critical of ESPN people, so I won't ... but Hannah Storm ... come on now! Stop! What are you doing? ... She's what I would call a Holden Caulfield fantasy at this point."
But the higher-ups at ESPN (and, presumably, Storm herself) apparently didn't find it so amusing. Kornheiser opened his radio show the next day by saying, "I apologize, unequivocally ... I'm a sarcastic, subversive guy ... I'm a troll, look at me. I have no right to insult what anybody looks like or what anybody wears. That, I think, should go without saying."
That apology, however, was not enough to placate the bosses at ESPN, and now one of ESPN's highest-profile employees will be off the air on PTI. Dan LeBatard filled in for Kornheiser on Monday's show, but there was no explanation offered for Kornheiser's absence.

A big part of Kornheiser's shtick is making jokes about media personalities (including himself), and if Kornheiser isn't allowed to have fun at the expense of ESPN colleagues from time to time, both his radio show and Pardon the Interruption are going to be a less entertaining. From that perspective, the suspension is probably a little harsh.

On the other hand, ESPN is probably trying to be extra sensitive to anything that could be perceived as sexual harassment after the Steve Phillips affair was followed up by a number of salacious ESPN-related stories on Deadspin. For that reason, Kornheiser probably had to be disciplined: ESPN wanted to send a message that it takes such things seriously, and not even one of the network's biggest stars is above the rules.