Former ESPN boss, John Skipper, has come forward and stated that he resigned after his cocaine dealer attempted to extort him.
Skipper abruptly resigned as ESPN’s president this past December. He told The Hollywood Reporter that the substance addiction that the company hinted to as the reason for his departure was, in particular, cocaine. He stated that his cocaine use was “quite infrequent” and “did not get in the way of my work.”
However, that changed in December, when he bought his cocaine from a new dealer and that person — or people — tried to extort him, Skipper claims.
“They threatened me,” Skipper said to the magazine. “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 (Disney CEO) Bob Iger, he and I agreed that I had placed the company in an untenable position and as a result, I should resign.”
Skipper, 62, started with ESPN in 1997, then took the reigns as the company’s president in 2012. Disney — ESPN’s parent company –brought on Jimmy Pitaro as Skipper’s replacement in early March.
Skipper said to The Reporter that since departing ESPN, he has sought therapy and received treatment for his drug addiction. “I have resources to help me now,” he said. He explained that the extortion attempt opened his eyes to the dangers of his drug use, and prompted him to get help.
“I knew then I had a problem I needed to address,” Skipper said. “I acted very foolishly. It made me want to seek help and get this out of my life.”