John Skipper on the ‘Agonizing’ Final 48 Hours of His 27-Year Disney Career

By Chris Ariens 

Former ESPN president John Skipper opens up to The Hollywood Reporter about his sudden exit from the company in December.

In excruciating detail, Skipper talks about how he threw away a 27-year career, giving up “the best job in sports on the planet” because of a cocaine habit.

“In December, someone from whom I bought cocaine attempted to extort me,” Skipper told James Andrew Miller, who co-authored the definitive book on ESPN.

Skipper says his cocaine use never got in the way of his work” other than a missed plane and a few canceled morning appointments,” and he was usually careful about whom he bought cocaine from. “Not this time. It turned out I wasn’t careful this time,” he said.

Miller: What did they say?

Skipper: 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 [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.”

That was Friday, Dec. 15. Skipper resigned the following Monday.

“That’s the day, of course, that there is no turning back; it’s done, it’s gone, it’s public. It was miserable. I spent it mostly by myself in New York City. I cry sentimentally at movies, but I never cry personally. That’s the only day that I cried. And I cried because I realized the profundity of what I’d done to myself, to my family, and that I’d given up the best job in sports on the planet,” he said.

Read the full Q&A here.