In a recent development, a popular sports network, ESPN, finds itself embroiled in a controversy. The network is accused of employing deceptive practices to secure over 30 Emmy awards.
What Happened: A report by The Athletic alleges that ESPN has been involved in a scheme since 2010 to secure Emmy awards for ineligible on-air talent.
The network stands accused of submitting counterfeit names in Emmy entries, procuring awards for these non-existent personnel, and subsequently renaming the statuettes to bestow upon actual on-air personalities.
The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS), which oversees the Emmys, unearthed the dubious practice. High-profile personalities from ESPN such as Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Chris Fowler, Desmond Howard, and Samantha Ponder, have allegedly received these illegitimately acquired awards, however, there is no implication of their knowledge of the improper acquisition.
ESPN is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Co. DIS.
The scam came to light upon NATAS’s discovery, prompting an investigation by both NATAS and ESPN. The aftermath saw sanctions that extended beyond merely returning the trophies, with numerous ESPN employees being disqualified from future Emmy participation.
ESPN Calls It A ‘Misguided Attempt’: ESPN admitted to this being a “misguided attempt” at acknowledging on-air personnel and has revamped their submission process to prevent any such future incidents. They also claim to have disciplined those identified as responsible.
Adam Sharp of NATAS lauded ESPN for owning up to the issue, executing a detailed investigation, returning the statuettes, and implementing internal accountability and procedure changes.
Primarily, the scheme was associated with the show “College GameDay,” which bagged eight Emmys for outstanding weekly studio shows between 2008 and 2018. It is alleged that ESPN sidestepped the rules by inserting counterfeit names into the credit list submitted for the show.
Benzinga has written to ESPN for a statement. We will update this story as and when we receive a response.
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