Former ESPN host says her Biden interview was entirely ‘scripted’ by network execs: ‘Every single question’

Apr 3, 2024 | Latest News | 0 comments

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Former ESPN host Sage Steele revealed that her 2021 interview with President Biden was “scripted” by network executives. 

In an interview with Fox News Digital, Steele recalled the “structured” nature of the pre-taped interview, so much so that her ESPN bosses handed her a “script” to go off of.

“That was an interesting experience in its own right because it was so structured,” Steele said. “And I was told, ‘You will say every word that we write out, you will not deviate from the script and go.’” 

Many of the questions Steele asked Biden in the March 2021 interview pertained to sports leagues attempting to restore normalcy during the COVID pandemic and vaccine hesitancy among athletes and fans. Her interview made headlines at the time when Biden supported the MLB’s All-Star game boycott of Atlanta following the passage of Georgia’s election reform law.

SAGE STEELE IS OFF THE SIDELINES AND SPEAKING HER MIND

But everything Steele said to the president ultimately came from ESPN’s c-suite.

“To the word. Every single question was scripted, gone over dozens of times by many editors and executives. Absolutely. I was on script and was told not to deviate,” Steele told Fox News Digital. “It was very much ‘This is what you will ask. This is how you will say it. No follow-ups, no follow-ups. Next.’ … This went up to the fourth floor, as we said, where all the bosses, the top executives, the decision makers are, the president of our company, the CEO, where they all worked.”

Steele said she didn’t know for certain whether ESPN sent the questions to the White House in advance of the interview but seemed confident that is “what happened.”

ESPN declined to comment. 

SAGE STEELE LEAVES ESPN, WANTS TO ‘EXERCISE MY FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS MORE FREELY’

Steele, who last week launched her new podcast “The Sage Steele Show,” said her brief interaction with the oldest-sitting president was “heartbreaking,” referring to his mental acuity. 

“I think it’s really heartbreaking that the people who love Joe Biden and say they truly care about him have allowed it to get to this point,” Steele said. “So I’m not even looking at this from a political angle or my beliefs in anything. This is the human side of it. And when someone is struggling, we allow them to continue to be in the spotlight and put them out there in the first place when they knew there were issues? Of course, they had to know. So it’s a humanity thing with me where I don’t care where anyone stands and what they vote for or who they believe in. Do you really care about that person? As a father, as a husband, as an everything.”

FORMER ESPN HOST SAGE STEELE TRASHES ‘THE VIEW’ ON BILL MAHER’S PODCAST: THE SHOW IS ‘DESPICABLE’

Steele previously detailed how Biden “trailed off” in their pre-interview chat before taping. 

“It was satellite, it wasn’t in person. We’re having a technical issue. And so I had to, like, BS. I had to chitchat waiting for us to start rolling,” Steele told Maher on his “Club Random” podcast last fall. “Well, what he started to do, of course he has someone next to him, and they keep a black, like, curtain over the lens of the camera, so you can’t see him until the last second, but you can hear, and we’re chitchatting… So I can hear him, and he goes, ‘What is this for?’… And he’s, like, ‘Who am I talking to? Wait—what’s her name?'”

“This is like a ‘Naked Gun’ movie,” Maher quipped. 

“I was going, ‘Oh, my God!'” Steele exclaimed. “And then he said, ‘SportsCenter. ESPN.’ And he goes, ‘Oh, ok.’ And so I said, you know, what do you say? ‘Hi, Mr. President. Nice to meet you.’ And so I’m trying just to fill time. And he said, ‘You know, I used to play football’… And so he started to tell football stories of his greatness. And again, I can’t see him. You can see the curtain… He goes, ‘And I have the best hands.’ What do you say to that?”

She later continued, “And then I said, ‘Oh, so you were a receiver.’ And he started to explain it. And here’s the saddest thing — his voice just trailed off. He said, ‘I was good,’ and then he went silent, and he goes, ‘Uhh… never mind.’”

Steele left ESPN last August after settling a lawsuit she had filed against the network alleging it violated her free speech rights. She has since joined Maher’s Club Randon Studios, which produces her podcast.

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