Less than a week after Disney fired actress and formerly mixed martial arts star Gina Carano over social media posts that are widely considered anti-Semitic, a Disney partner has embedded the company in a spinoff controversy.
At a UFC 258 media availability Friday, UFC President Dana White, whose promotion airs on Disney-owned ESPN properties, was asked about Carano’s situation.
White used the opportunity to take an unsolicited shot at an ESPN employee of Jewish heritage with whom he has been feuding, Ariel Helwani.
“Leave Gina alone,” White said. “Listen, we’re making mistakes. We all make mistakes. For everyone to go in on her – I love how Ariel Helwani did it all about him. It was all about him. Such a shower. ”
After a weekend in which several of Helwani’s high – profile colleagues at ESPN tweeted in support of their colleague while the company was silent, ESPN released its first public comment on the situation on Monday.
Ariel is a valued colleague and a unique MMA reporter. His record speaks for itself, “ESPN reported New York Post.
Helwani wrote on the subject on social media in the weekend.
“As a Jewish person and as a human being, it just does not sit well,” Helwani’s post said in part. “And I wish she would never have sent it. And honestly, I wish someone would have talked to her about her social media posts over the last year. Some of them not even political. Just in general, they felt for me. I’m sorry she went this route. ”
White, who has been silent about his former vocal support of former President Donald Trump since the uprising at the Capitol on January 6, has considered Helwani an enemy for years.
Their most high-profile dust came at UFC 199 in Inglewood, California, in June 2016. White was upset by Helwani, who was then employed by Vox Media, to report on Brock Lesnar’s planned return to the company before it could reveal the news of its owner during the broadcast. The UFC responded by recalling Helwani’s credentials, as well as his camera crew members E. Casey Leydon and Esther Lin, in the middle of the event. The trio’s credentials were recovered several days later following a public setback.
The list above current and former ESPN employees who spoke before the company released its statement include Sarah Spain, Pablo Torres, Kenny Mayne and Dan LeBatard.
– Ryan Glasspiegel (@sportsrapport) February 14, 2021