Former WWE broadcaster Charly Arnolt has caused a stir with her recent comments explaining why she chose to leave ESPN that some have labeled transphobic.
Arnolt was known as Charly Caruso during her time in WWE where she was seen as a backstage interviewer or on-screen host. She began working with ESPN full-time in 2021 but has drawn a close to her time there as she begins work with Outkick – a media brand under the Fox umbrella.
Discussing her decision on Fox News, Arnolt discussed the recent situation regarding ESPN correspondents Sage Steele and Sam Ponder who have made clear their own opinions on trans women competing in sports and notes that a recent ESPN decision to feature controversial swimmer Lia Thomas may have played a part in her choosing to leave:
“Well, that’s the question, because ESPN has been very adamant about keeping politics out of their programming. Yet you just saw late last month they did a whole tribute during women’s month for Lia Thomas, so therefore it doesn’t exactly seem like they are keeping politics completely out of the mix. But I have to commend these women for standing up for these women who unfortunately are losing so much of the success that they’ve worked so hard for.
“I mean, here you have a man who enters the women’s division, and let’s be quite honest about Lia Thomas. As a man, didn’t really do much, didn’t move the needle. Run of the mill swimmer. Enters the women’s division, starts breaking records, completely obliterating any type of success that these women could ever hope to reach.
“So as far as ESPN, I don’t really know what their plan is as far as whether they’ve talked to these women or addressed it on air. I would hope that this would be something that they would address, but up to this point, they’ve remained completely mum on the topic, so I’m not exactly sure what happens. But I know Sage has been a huge advocate for women and their rights and very outspoken.”
Arnolt continued by stating that she felt “stifled” during her time at ESPN as an opinionated person and says that “cancel culture” does not exist at her new employer:
“You know, I’m a very opinionated person, I always have been. That’s something I really love about myself, and I just felt like at ESPN I was a little bit stifled. There was a lot of conversations and issues that have really just permeated the world of sports, and really just society in general, that I was not able to speak up about. And it made me very uncomfortable, because I felt like I wasn’t being true to myself.
“So then, here’s a place like Outkick that really the idea of cancel culture does not exist. And you have a guy like Clay Travis who really stands behind everyone at the company and says ‘Listen, you can say whatever you want as long as you are convicted in what you’re saying, and you really believe in it, you have nothing to worry about.’”