Dan Le Batard paid the staff of his ESPN show personally during furloughs in 2020, and is taking aim at Bill Maher for not doing the same as the HBO host brings back Real Time during the Writers’ Guild of America strike.
“If he wanted to be in solidarity with everybody else, he would just take care of his support staff himself,” Le Batard said.
The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz host described how when ESPN went remote with its shows in 2020 during public health shutdowns, Le Batard asked if his “voluntary” (not so, in his mind) pay cut could go toward paying support staff for his radio show and Highly Questionable.
ESPN said no, so Le Batard paid them out of his own pockets.
Maher could likely have done the same and kept Real Time off the air, Le Batard argued. Or he could use some of the money from his podcast to pay Real Time staff, as his late-night competitors (including HBO colleague John Oliver) are doing with their “Strike Force Five” podcast.
Instead, Maher is bringing back the show during a strike he called “kooky.” Maher also said on a recent episode of his podcast that writers “are not owed a living.”
“Bill Maher has enough money that he can (pay staff) if he wanted to be in solidarity,” Le Batard noted. “But he’s also an ego monster, and he needs the cameras, and he’s selfish.”
Producing a show without a contract with the producers is essentially crossing the strike’s picket line.
Last week, WGA negotiator and Le Batard Show personality Mike Schur appeared on the show and criticized Drew Barrymore for a similar move, saying “When you (strike), you have to do it completely, because that’s the way to make it as short as possible.”