Staffers Feared “Nightmare” ABC President Would “Use Race Issue”

Kim Godwin, Michael Strahan, and Robin Roberts Good Morning America
Credit: Kim Godwin, Instagram

To say things are hectic at ABC News right now would be an understatement. On the evening of Sunday, May 5, staffers were informed that ABC News President Kim Godwin would be “resigning from broadcast journalism.” Godwin’s resignation came after reports were made public of the poor job that she was doing.

ABC News had been underperforming, and Disney brought in Debra OConnell to oversee how the network was being run. Those reports indicated that OConnell was gobsmacked at what a bad job Godwin was doing running the iconic news network. Godwin allegedly had a very hands-off approach, which allowed problems to fester and then explode.

Kim Godwin ABC News President poses with coworkers

Credit: Kim Godwin, Instagram

Related: ABC Star Fired After Illicit Affair Wants Her Job Back

That explosion was truly felt when ABC was forced to fire veteran meteorologist Rob Marciano, who was a staple on both Good Morning America and World News Tonight. Marciano had not been allowed in the ABC News studios for more than a year because of his behavior, and a “screaming match” that he got in was the final straw.

But OConnell had a final straw of her own — when she allegedly found out that Kim Godwin was “trashing her.”

Kim Godwin, Joy Behar, Sunny Hostin, Sarah Haines, Alyssa Farah Griffin, Ana Navarro The View

Credit: Kim Godwin, Instagram

According to sources who spoke with Page Six, it wasn’t only the trash talk that ended Godwin’s time at ABC. It was also the fact that no one who worked for ABC News supported her.

The source told The Post that a “confluence” of events that included the Marciano saga and negative feedback from fellow black employees about their boss played a role in Disney sharpening the ax.

“Debra already knew about Kim was trashing her,” the source said, adding that what upset top brass was learning that nobody in the building supported Godwin.

Kim Godwin, David Muir, and Robin Roberts

Credit: Kim Godwin, Instagram

Godwin was the first black woman picked to lead a national news network, and in an explosive new report from Puck, her appointment was originally celebrated by black staffers. Unfortunately, that excitement quickly turned to disappointment.

Some said they grew disenchanted after getting the sense that Godwin was more interested in promoting herself rather than elevating other people of color. A few also chafed at some of the race-related remarks Godwin has made that struck a dissonant chord. In multiple meetings, several sources present in the room said, Godwin claimed that Black people don’t watch the news.

In at least one meeting, Godwin also bemoaned how, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, news networks had overcompensated for a lack of diversity in the leadership ranks—a remark some in the room interpreted as a criticism of some of her Black deputies. 

Kim Godwin and Pierre Thomas

Credit: Kim Godwin, Instagram

Related: Fired Former ABC News Anchor Claims He Was Accused of Theft Because He’s Black

Godwin’s comments reportedly led some to fear that she would “use the race issue” to keep her job. They said that Disney had engaged in “soft bigotry,” and didn’t want to look bad if they let her go.

“Race in the workplace is so nuanced that it can be easily weaponized by all sides and bad actors of any race,” one Black ABC News veteran told me.

The truth, this person said, is that “Disney fell into the trap of the soft bigotry of low expectations and appointed someone everyone knows is unqualified to do the job… Now [they] are worried that firing the first Black woman would be an act of racism, when she is simply bad at her job.”

Kim Godwin with the staff of ABC 7

Credit: Kim Godwin, Instagram

The National Association of Black Journalists has jumped to Godwin’s defense, saying that the articles speaking poorly of her and the job she did at ABC were “racially motivated.” However, the black ABC staffers who worked with Godwin say that she just did not do a good job. Race had nothing to do with it.

When Godwin announced her resignation, she thanked both Debra OConnell and Dana Walden, the Co-Chairman of Disney Entertainment. She said she was leaving with her head held high and thanked her team. Ms. OConnell has stepped in temporarily as the new President of ABC News.

Kim Godwin and Kim Kardashian

Credit: Kim Godwin, Instagram

Disney has not publicly spoken about Godwin’s exit. The company also refused to comment on the prior complaints made against Godwin addressed in the Puck article.

Do you think ABC News has gone downhill over the past few years? Let us know in the comments.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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