Gregg Easterbrook, who wrote the “Tuesday Morning Quarterback” column for ESPN.com (praised in an earlier posting on this blog), was just fired for his New Republic blog posting on Kill Bill. In it, he condemns Tarantino’s new movie, Kill Bill, for “wallowing in gore.”
While this definitely constitutes “biting the hand that feeds you” (ESPN.com and Miramax, Kill Bill’s distributor, are both owned by Disney), this wasn’t (necessarily) what got Easterbrook fired. No, this is what got him fired:
“Disney’s CEO, Michael Eisner, is Jewish; the chief of Miramax, Harvey Weinstein, is Jewish. Yes, there are plenty of Christian and other Hollywood executives who worship money above all else, promoting for profit the adulation of violence. Does that make it right for Jewish executives to worship money above all else, by promoting for profit the adulation of violence? Recent European history alone ought to cause Jewish executives to experience second thoughts about glorifying the killing of the helpless as a fun lifestyle choice.”
Easterbrook quickly apologized, but by then the damage was done.
Lang Whittaker of SLAM Online compared Easterbrook’s gaffe to Rush Limbaugh’s self-destruction over quasi-racist comments about Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb. There is one key difference, however (no, not that Limbaugh’s comments were racist and Easterbrook’s anti-Semitic). Limbaugh made his comments on-air, and was rightly dismissed. Easterbrook’s blog entry appeared in his blog, which is completely separate from his ESPN.com column.
Had Easterbrook’s comments appeared in ESPN.com, Disney would have been perfectly justified in firing him. But to fire him for something completely unrelated smacks of hypocrisy. Remember, this is the same organization that employs Hunter S. Thompson as a regular columnist!
Ultimately, however, Easterbrook should have known not to violate the cardinal rule of media: Never make racist or anti-Semitic comments unless you’re a famous black football player, basketball player, or politician.
Happy trails, TMQ!