Ever wonder what a donnybrook is? Well, it's a term for an uproar or a free-for all, and originated as a reference to Donnybrook fair, a suburb of Dublin which was long noted for its raucous brawls. What does that have to do with anything? Well, since I first learned of it Saturday night, I've been pondering the news that Gregg Easterbrook was fired from ESPN, allegedly over the comments he made about studio executives Michael Eisner and Harvey Weinstein as the parties responsible for the release of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill. The text of his original comments can be found in my post here, and my comments on his "apology" can be found here. Roger Simon initially posted the news of the firing, which he apparently learned through a conversation with Easterbrook.
I hesitated to post anything at first, in one sense because so many others had already done so (links to those comments can be found here and here). But because I had criticised Easterbrooks' comments to begin with, I decided it was probably appropriate to toss my thoughts into the ring. First of all, I am reminded of Glen Reynolds' post last Friday, in which he noted that it was unfortunate Easterbrook waited virtually all week to offer an "apology" for his comments (they initially appeared on Monday, while he updated his blog with the "apology" on Friday). As Reynolds points out, in blog time that's forever. It might have been better to address the situation earlier rather than attempt to ignore it, since the hesitation may have been why the story exploded - and ended up covered by the New York Times, among other places.
Like most of the others who have already offered far more cogent commentary on this, I am surprised by ESPN's reaction (for those who didn't know, ESPN is part of the whole Disney corporate behemoth, and Michael Eisner helms Disney, so one supposition is that Easterbrook was essentially canned for taking a shot at his boss). Professor Eugene Volokh says, "I thought Easterbrook's comments were unsound and quite unpersuasive, but I don't think they were anti-Semitic." The first time I read Easterbrook's post, I was struck by what (to me, at least) seemed a highly insensitive and largely disconnected diatribe against Jewish studio executives appended to a post lambasting Quentin Tarantino. I've already said why I think Easterbrook was wrong; however, I agree that his comments weren't directly anti-Semitic.