Chicago Blackhawks Fire Reporter Over Silly Old YouTube Videos

from the oops dept

When we typically discuss companies coming to blows with content control (aka censorship), the stories tend to be about what would otherwise be obscure wrong-doings going viral on a national or international level. Major automakers concocting horrible advertising around suicide, for instance. Or multi-state bus companies learning that bathroom-ing on their customers isn’t the best practice and catching the resulting backlash. But the practice of shining the light on yourself by being overly protective of your brand doesn’t only happen at the macro level, it can have a local effect as well.

That’s the lesson the Chicago Blackhawks are learning right this very minute. If you’re not in Chicago, you probably haven’t heard of Susannah Collins, who reports for Comcast Sports Net on the Blackhawks. In fact, if you know who she is at all, it’s probably from this line of low-brow comedy videos that she produced on YouTube. While some of those videos are likely NSFW, there is nothing more racy in them than a bit of colorful language and suggestive talk. It’s about as harmless as it gets. That is, of course, unless you’re the Chicago Blackhawks who, for reasons that make absolutely zero sense, decided that those videos surfacing were cause to five-hole Collins’ career and have her fired.

In a letter to the Vice President/General Manager of Comcast Sports Net Chicago, team chairman Rocky Wirtz demanded that reporter Susannah Collins be removed immediately, citing his awareness of comedy videos made years earlier that he found “incredibly offensive to a number of audiences, going well beyond professional athletes.”

He only learned of them after her innocent, unfortunate slip of the tongue last week brought them back to the fore, but it didn’t matter to Wirtz. Although they had been a fully disclosed non-issue upon her hiring, they became instant, retroactive reason for a swift dismissal.

The locals in Chicago were immediately upset over the firing. Certainly part of the reason for the animosity is the silliness of firing a reporter over sketch comedy videos she did on YouTube years ago. But, in true bad PR fashion, the real anger comes over the team’s almost epic level of hypocrisy. You see, Wirtz cited the video’s offensiveness as the reason for asking CSN (which is owned by several local Chicago teams, including the Blackhawks) to fire Collins. This, from the same team that has young women in tiny outfits shoveling up ice shavings between periods during games. This from a team that plays a sport in which fans will cheer on two grown men committing assault upon one another and then have the nerve to call it “part of the game.”

But the real fun comes with the magnifying glass now being placed squarely on the team’s official “ambassador,” Bobby Hull. The article linked above is one of several that makes the point nicely.

Hull’s second wife, Joanne, whom he wed in 1960 and divorced in 1980, told an ESPN documentary in 2002 that she “took a real beating” at his hands. She described an incident during which Hull “threw me in the room, and just proceeded to knock the heck out of me. He took my shoe – with a steel heel – and proceeded to hit me in the head. I was covered with blood. And I can remember him holding me over the balcony, and I thought this is the end, I’m going.” She filed to end the marriage in 1970 after several more incidents, but they reconciled until Hull threatened her with a loaded shotgun in 1978. Their daughter, Michelle, also described his pattern of behavior to “Sports Century,” and she now works as an attorney specializing in domestic violence.

Should you think this was a one-time minor indiscretion of old-fashioned domestic abuse, Hull’s second wife complained of similar treatment, Hull was later convicted for trying to punch a police officer, oh, and there was that one time he was all warm and fuzzy about freaking Hitler.

But, hey, I guess if there aren’t any YouTube videos, it never happened, amirite? That is, until your unreasonableness turns the magnifying glass back on you and now you have an entire city calling for the head of your so-called “ambassador.”

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Companies: blackhawks, nhl

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Comments on “Chicago Blackhawks Fire Reporter Over Silly Old YouTube Videos”

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Anonymous Coward says:

So here are the facts as far as I?m concerned:

-Tuesday ? Susannah Collins has an on air blooper, saying sex instead of success. Hilarious? Yes. Offensive? Absolutely not, not even in the least bit. It was as basic as a mistake as someone could make. We all fumble our words, she happened to do it on air, could not possibly be more harmless.

-Wednesday ? Video of Susannah?s mistake goes viral.

-Thursday ? Susannah Collins is fired, at 11 pm, a good 2 hours after a Bulls game, when literally no one is on the internet or watching television. Under the radar, hoping no one will notice.

So what changed between Tuesday and Thursday? According to CSN it was the re-emergence of her Sports Nutz videos.
So here is my question. Does CSN actually want us to believe that they hired Susannah Collins without ever checking her background? That they never looked up Sports Nutz? That they never did a simple google search of ?Susannah + Collins?? Really? That is what they are telling us? Because here?s what I think happened. Susannah Collins made a mistake on Tuesday and CSN got a few calls from some ?concerned? viewers and they folded. Plain and simple. They took one ounce of pressure and they wilted. They turned on their employee. They proved that they have ZERO backbone and that as soon as things got hot, they would run in the opposite direction. CSN as far as I?m concerned epitomizes what a coward is.

This absolutely infuriates me. I know it shouldn?t but it does, because this is exactly what is wrong with our country. Everyone is so Politically Correct and so scared to make a mistake that when someone has a simple flub on television they are fired almost immediately. Then instead of telling the truth and admitting to their cowardice, they hide behind a bullshit excuse. This is A.J Clemente all over again. It?s unbelievable. Comcast Sports Net should be ashamed of themselves for 1) Not being loyal to an employee and 2) Giving the public a bullshit excuse of their actions and expecting us to believe it. This is disgusting.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I believe you need to get your priorities in order.

1. Beating your wife? That’s fine.

2. Lying to your staff, your clients and your customers? That’s okay too.

3. Empathizing with the poor misunderstood Nazies? Also okay.

4. Exploiting women (that ice won’t pick itself up, you know)? Perfectly fine.

5. Promoting boxing-on-ice because it’s just part of the game? Yep. No Problemo.

6. Even a little sophomoric humor is okay…provided that men do it. Still no issue.

But when one of those uppity women who think just because they’re smart, funny and talented that they should have a job in the manly men’s male world of sports does the teensiest thing that might offend Mildred Q. Raving Christianoid Nutcase (and also make the baby jesus cry) then she must be disappeared — because that, THAT, cannot be allowed.

I’m glad we’ve had this little talk. I hope it’s cleared everything up for you.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You left off that her ‘crime’ is much lesser than a man who beat his wife who they still keep around.

Funny videos get you fired, beating your wife gets you a job promoting the team.

Maybe Mr. Wirtz needs to goto the penalty box called forced separation from employment (or whatever stupid terms they use to avoid getting sued).

Manabi (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Comcast Sports Net should be ashamed of themselves for 1) Not being loyal to an employee and 2) Giving the public a bullshit excuse of their actions and expecting us to believe it. This is disgusting.

Being loyal to your employees went out a looooooong time ago. Nowadays it’s all about abusing your employees to make as much money as possible, firing anyone who dares complain (but always done in a way that it can’t be proven so the company can’t be successfully sued over it) and looking at the short term picture ONLY. Employees are now just so much cattle, there to make the upper management rich. That doesn’t excuse the behavior, but it is the norm in the US now.

You’re quite correct that it’s disgusting. Someday this is all going to come back and bite companies though. Having no loyalty to your employees works both ways, they also have no loyalty to you. At some point in the future it’s all going to fall apart when the remaining employees don’t care enough to keep the company from failing. But all the current upper management will be long gone with all their money, so they won’t care. It’s kinda like a Ponzi scheme, only with employment.

WysiWyg (profile) says:

Re: Re:

From the article;

“Although they had been a fully disclosed non-issue upon her hiring, […]” (regarding the videos).

“In a letter to the Vice President/General Manager of Comcast Sports Net Chicago, team chairman Rocky Wirtz demanded that reporter Susannah Collins be removed immediately, […]” (regarding the complaints they received).

Also from the article; this wasn’t a complaint from some random viewer, it was from one of the owners. Not that it changes anything.

horse with no name says:


Major automakers concocting horrible advertising around suicide

you keep talking about it. Short term fail perhaps, but long term everyone knows the name of the ocmpany. Most businesses would do anything for this level of exposure, good or bad.

It’s actually funny to see bloggers like you played in this manner.

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