It’s hard to explain the Maria Taylor saga with a straight face, especially if you’re talking to people outside the media industry who probably don’t even know who she is. But if you can get them to listen long enough, you can expect their facial expressions to change once you get to the part where the easily replaceable studio host turned down her company’s offer of $5 million and then tried to paint the company as racist to extort even more money from them. If your audience still doesn’t quite get it, they’ll surely break after they hear Taylor then left the network she tried to burn down and went to a competitor.
At some point soon, Taylor’s former bosses at ESPN will sit back and wonder whether they are finally safe. Taylor is gone now. She can’t hurt them anymore, right? Unfortunately, that assumption would be incorrect. Taylor’s entire plan — which ended with her leaking the private conversation of a colleague whom she had already beaten out for a job — was not just a reflection of Taylor’s deviousness but of American culture, now controlled monolithically by the Left. There will be more Maria Taylors. And the next one may actually play their hand well.
An influential segment of the Left has successfully weaponized social media and the press to such an extent that corporate executives answer to them before the boards to which they report.
Maria Taylor’s entire plan is emblematic of the Left’s vision of America. In their minds, they can control white executives through their black employees using fear and manufactured guilt. Without knowing it, Taylor racialized a network more than she helped herself. Next, look for the Left to find another pawn at AT&T, Comcast, and Netflix.
Taylor’s mostly white bosses saw the writing on the wall following George Floyd’s death. They could no longer simply treat people of all colors equally. To stay in power, they had to prove they were not racist, which meant treating employees of certain racial groups better than others.
Despite ESPN’s long history of promoting and paying black personalities lucrative salaries, the network couldn’t effectively erase the narrative, promoted by users on social media and the New York Times, that it had let go of Jemele Hill, Cari Champion, and Josina Anderson because of their race and gender (you can read more about that here).
Taylor and ESPN needed each other. Taylor wanted ESPN’s money because she knew no other network would pay her half of what she demanded. ESPN wanted Taylor to erase an incorrect, but looming narrative about race relations inside the network. As a result, ESPN tried to overpay Taylor multiple times.
Last year, ESPN offered Taylor $5 million a year, a $4 million a year raise. Taylor, knowing she had the upper hand, turned that offer down. She wanted more, closer to $8 million per year. But then an unforeseen circumstance changed everything in their contract negotiations — COVID. ESPN then had to reduce its offer to Taylor down to $3 million, still a 200% increase at a time when the network had forced many other employees to take 30 to 60% pay cuts just to keep their jobs.
The truth is that Taylor had already won. Unfortunately, she just couldn’t see it.
Not only had they offered her 3x the money, but ESPN had also named Taylor the host of its most valued property, the NBA Finals on ABC. Taylor got the job over veteran NBA host Rachel Nichols, who had the assignment written in her contract. Taylor had a contract offer that trailed only Stephen A. Smith and Mike Greenberg, both of whom are nearly 20 years older than she is.
Despite all the headaches she gave them, ESPN was willing to make Taylor one of the faces of the network, with a plan to ultimately make her the face of ESPN one day. Taylor responded to all of this by leaking audio of Nichols to portray the employer that had built her up and given her roles she hadn’t earned as misogynistic and racist.
But here’s where the Leftist path that Taylor attempted to follow goes awry. There’s never an end. There is always another racist dragon to slay, another dissenting voice to silence. So they keep asking for more.
Taylor felt she had such a stranglehold on her relationship with ESPN that she exposed herself before she could declare victory. Her first mistake came too late.
Think about it. Cancel culture started as a push to bring awareness to individuals who were detrimental to a brand. Today, cancel culture is a self-serving movement that helps those who enforce it eliminate their more capable competition as well as ease the guilt of their own racist past.
Maria Taylor couldn’t just accept her victory. Instead, her demands and requests grew so unreasonable that her even guilty, petrified white bosses who were at her mercy had to say no.
In the end, Taylor didn’t win. ESPN offered her all she wanted and more. Taylor still left, likely for less money. Though she intended only to blow smoke, Taylor ended up burning down the entire bridge. She wore the sharp blade down to nothing.
Maria Taylor is an extension of the Left’s takeover of American culture. She also gives us a preview of its ending.
Big Tech began censoring accounts to remove conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos. In 2020, social media companies interfered in the presidential election by suppressing a factual report about Hunter Biden’s laptop. Is Big Tech the next group to get run over by the runaway train they set in motion?
In any case, when you finally finish explaining to those lucky folks outside the media world who Maria Taylor is, they’ll probably conclude that she was ultimately just a pawn for the Left in this case. And they’d be right.