ESPN Holds Hank Williams Jr. Accountable for Hitler Comparison

ESPN, part of the Walt Disney Company, was faced with the thorny issue of entertainer Hank Williams Jr., who performs the theme song for Monday Night Football, with making a comparison of President Obama to Hitler.  ESPN pulled Hank from tonight’s show.  The LA Times has details here.

From the story:  “In an interview on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” Williams compared the summer golf summit between Obama and House Speaker John Boehner as “one of the biggest political mistakes ever,” according to reports. “That turned a lot of people off.”

“It would be like Hitler playing golf with [Israeli leader] Benjamin Netanyahu,” Williams said. “In the shape this country’s in?”

Asked to explain his analogy, Williams said Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are “the enemy,” adding for some reason that they were “The Three Stooges.”

In a statement, ESPN executives said: “While Hank Williams Jr. is not an ESPN employee, we recognize he is closely linked to our company through the opening of ‘Monday Night Football.’ We are extremely disappointed with his comments, and as a result have decided to pull the open from tonight’s telecast.” (last night’s game- editor’s note)

Now the story isn’t clear that Williams’ opening has been pulled for good.  I have to wonder if the ADL will get involved.  But imagine that, a public figure makes an inappropriate reference to someone — in this case the President of the United States — and that’s an actual penalty attached to it likely in the form of a royalty check. 

ESPN ought to cut a new opening with a new act and Hank Williams Jr. can open concerts for Ted Nugent.

  10 comments for “ESPN Holds Hank Williams Jr. Accountable for Hitler Comparison

  1. junior
    October 4, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Yup, it was a really, really stupid comment. But I believe that Hank was comparing situations – not people. Did I say that it was a stupid comment?

  2. junior
    October 4, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Another thought – how many times did really, really stupid people compare President Bush to Hitler?

    And yet another thought – did the LibOC ever call out those really, really stupid people who compared Pres. Bush to Hitler? not likely ….

  3. October 4, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    The only celebrity I am aware of who came close was Margaret Cho who actually said comparisons of Bush to Hitler were off base. She said he could be if he applied himself. Cho is also the subject of considerable anti-Asian rants with people flooding her website with racial slurs well before this comment. Do you have any specific examples of celebrities calling Bush “Hitler,” Junior?

  4. art lomeli
    October 4, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Bush as Hitler, Swastika-Mania: A Retrospective

    Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 11:24 am

    At recent rallies, town hall meetings and “tea parties,” a few protesters have shown up with signs comparing Obama to Hitler (i.e. depicting him with a Hitler mustache), or displaying swastikas in the context of implying that Obama and/or his administration are Nazi-like.

    One would think that this would not be particularly newsworthy, but Democrats, the White House and their supporters are expressing outrage at this “horrifying” and “menacing” turn of events. (Or faux-outrage, at least.) Pundits, bloggers, media outlets and even top politicians like Nancy Pelosi are claiming that such signs are unprecedented, racist, and even that anyone who brings a swastika to a protest must be self-identifying as a Nazi (instead of accusing their opponents of being Nazis). When anyone tries to point out that the Left continuously compared Bush to Hitler and brought swastikas to rallies for six straight years during the Bush era, Obama supporters mock such claims, demand proof, and then try to ignore any individual examples proffered.

    Since I had a front-row seat between 2003 and 2008 at anti-Bush protests in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I saw literally THOUSANDS of Bush/Hitler comparisons and swastikas, I thought perhaps it would be useful to compile here in one place a small sampling of them — to prove beyond any doubt that Hitler and swastikas were referenced incessantly at basically every single protest during the Bush administration. Anyone who claims otherwise is lying, as is anyone who claims that people who bring swastikas to rallies are necessarily self-identifying as Nazis.

    I’m not saying I “approve” of the new variant of this trend (comparing Obama to Hitler), nor that it is any more clever or insightful than comparing Bush to Hitler; I only post these images here to highlight the hypocrisy of anyone now expressing outrage that Obama could uniquely suffer such an indignity.

    The pictures below were all taken by me at protests between 2003 and 2008 in the San Francisco Bay Area. One can easily find hundreds of similar photos on my site zombietime. And I am just one photographer in one city — there are innumerable similar examples by other citizen journalists in other cities across America.

    [Update:] Various other blogs have now also posted their own documentation of Bush-as-Hitler signs:
    – Ringo’s Pictures has an extensive roundup of Bush/Hitler/Nazi signs from Los Angeles protests, with even more examples than I have here.
    – semiskimmed had already published the excellent Gallery of “Bush = Hitler” Allusions as long ago as 2005, with innumerable examples not mentioned here.
    – The Sara in Italy blog posted this montage of anti-Bush signs from the last several years, including many of Bush as the Devil, the Joker, a clown, and of course as Hitler and sporting swastikas.
    – The various local Indymedia sites have featured countless photos of swastika/Bush-as-Nazi signs in their coverage of protests over the years — such as this prototypical example at the Los Angeles Indymedia site.
    – Back in February, the Michelle Malkin site had a post with several Bush-as-Hitler signs made by his detractors.
    – The Pink Flamingo blog has some more examples.
    – Vocal Minority has some additional swastika protesters as part of a nice essay about the phoniness of the brouhaha.
    – The College Politico has an excellent video entitled “Media Caught in Bold Faced Lie About Obama/Hitler Poster” proving that the Obama-Hitler-Mustache posters were created and displayed by Lyndon LaRouche supporters — who are advocating for single-payer healthcare — i.e. they’re at the opposite end of the argument from the main body of anti-Obama protesters.]

  5. October 4, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Punishing a man for expressing his Constitional rights of free speech, the left has no shame.

  6. Mearl Hinckley
    October 4, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    As an American citizen, I can compare Bush to Hitler or anybody else I choose. (Actually, I think the inept, constantly befuddled Rudolph Hess would be a closer comparison.) And as an American citizen, a wealthy peckerwood like Williams can do the same with our current President. But he (and I) must do it on our own ticket. ESPN is under no obligation to give William’s deranged speech—with which they almost certainly disagree—any platform whatsoever. It’s their ticket.

  7. art lomeli
    October 4, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Agreed. The ESPN decision is a business/marketing decision.

Comments are closed.