ESPN returns Emmys and disciplines staff after submitting for awards under fake names

Jan 11, 2024, 2:22 PM

FILE - The ESPN logo is seen prior to an NFL football game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the P...

FILE - The ESPN logo is seen prior to an NFL football game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sept. 16, 2013, in Cincinnati. Hours before the fall's first “Monday Night Football” game, Disney and Charter Communications have settled a business dispute that had left some 15 million cable TV customers without ESPN and other Disney channels. Disney said that because of the deal, the majority of its ESPN customers would have service restored to Charter's Spectrum cable system right away. Charter confirmed the deal Monday, Sept. 11, 2023. (AP Photo/David Kohl, File)

(AP Photo/David Kohl, File)

New York (CNN) — ESPN returned dozens of Emmy statues and “disciplined” employees after an investigation disclosed Thursday found that the sports network had submitted fake names to the awards organization in a bid to secure trophies for on-air personalities who had been ineligible to receive them.

The apparent fraud stretched back to 1997, ESPN said in a statement, acknowledging that members of its team “were clearly wrong” for concocting the scheme.

“Some members of our team were clearly wrong in submitting certain names that may go back to 1997 in Emmy categories where they were not eligible for recognition or statuettes,” an ESPN spokesperson said in a statement. “This was a misguided attempt to recognize on-air individuals who were important members of our production team. Once current leadership was made aware, we apologized to NATAS for violating guidelines and worked closely with them to completely overhaul our submission process to safeguard against anything like this happening again.”

The Athletic, which broke the story on the scheme Thursday, reported that over the years when ESPN was given the prestigious awards using the fictitious names, the broadcaster had them re-engraved and then handed them out to the personalities who had been ineligible to receive them.

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which administers the Emmys, said it discovered the fraud, prompting an investigation. The Athletic reported that there was no evidence that the staffers who received the awards were aware of the behind-the-scenes fraud.

NATAS said in a statement to CNN that it had identified several “fictitious credits” submitted by ESPN to multiple sports Emmys categories.

“When brought to the attention of ESPN senior management, the network took steps to take responsibility for the actions of its personnel, to investigate thoroughly, and to course correct,” a NATAS spokesperson said. “These steps have included the return by ESPN of statuettes issued to fictitious individuals and commitments to implement further internal accountability and procedural changes at the network.”

An ESPN spokesperson told CNN on Thursday that when its current leadership was made aware of the scheme, it hired an outside law firm to “conduct a full and thorough investigation” and that “individuals found to be responsible were disciplined by ESPN.”

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live


Follow @kslsports...

KSL Sports

Salt Lake City Selected As Team Base Camp Candidate For 2026 World Cup

Salt Lake City could get in on the 2026 World Cup fun as a Team's Base Camp. A countries national team could call Utah its short-term home.

16 minutes ago

Follow @kslsports...

KSL Sports

Spring Ball Review: A Look At Utah Football’s Wide Receivers

Today’s focus lands on the wide receivers who have been a little quiet for the Utes in recent years but look strong for 2024.

24 minutes ago

Follow @kslsports...

KSL Sports

Utah Now One Vote Away From Hosting 2034 Winter Games. Here’s What Just Happened

The Utah bid to host the 2034 Winter Games is headed to a final vote by the International Olympic Committee in July.

60 minutes ago

Follow @kslsports...

KSL Sports

Ryan Crouser Takes His Strength To Paris Olympics With Eyes On Gold

American track and field athlete Ryan Crouser hopes that his strength can lead him to a gold medal in his third-straight Olympics.

3 hours ago

Follow @kslsports...

KSL Sports

Jerry West, Hall Of Fame Selection And NBA Logo Inspiration, Dies At 86

Jerry West, who was selected to the Hall of Fame three times, and whose silhouette is the basis of the NBA logo, died Wednesday morning.

4 hours ago

Follow @kslsports...

KSL Sports

Remembering Steve Klauke, The Nicest Guy In Sports

How does a lifelong storyteller from Chicago, Illinois, end up building a career as a minor league in Utah? "The interstate."

20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

ESPN returns Emmys and disciplines staff after submitting for awards under fake names