A new tell-all 700-page book says that top cable sports network ESPN offices have long been a hotbed of cocaine, hookers and drunken orgies at Christmas parties.
ESPN started in 1978, when Bill Rasmussen and his son Scott launched what they called ESP, Entertainment Sports Programming. The 'N' for Network came later.
AdvertisementThe allegations are made in new book "Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN", the latest from authors James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales, who are known for a similar expose of "Saturday Night Live".
The book takes an in-depth look at the rise of the sports network giant into to a multibillion-dollar conglomerate worth more than the NBA, MLB and NHL combined, with lots of stops along the way for strange anecdotes about the 'glorified frat house'.
The authors claim to have done extensive interviews with current and former ESPN staffers about the history and culture inside the blockbuster 24-hour cable network, which has its headquarters in leafy Bristol, Connecticut, the Daily Mail reports.
The New York Post says the book is loaded with "frat-boy antics, sexcapades, backstabbing and inflated egos that continue on to this day".
The book alleges that lewd behaviour started early at ESPN, especially with former executive Stuart Evey, who allegedly would "destroy the place with liquor, drugs, hookers".
The book alleges that mailroom staff 'pimped' female ESPN office workers out for sex acts, apparently both on the premises and in company-owned apartments.
The company's Christmas parties were also said to be legendary, and allegedly fuelled by cocaine.
Former executive Andy Brilliant told Miller and Shales: "A couple of them were drunken orgies, but who could blame these people in the middle of nowhere? It became like a big frat party. There were a lot of drugs being done in the bathroom. There was quite a bit of screwing going on afterward, a lot of it extramarital."
The book alleges that in the 1980s, male ESPN staff tuned office televisions to the Playboy Channel and "groped and cajoled the women relentlessly".
The book also gives many such cases of harassment of female colleagues.