‘Retired’ ABC News Prez’ Hubby Pleads With the Public to Praise Her

Schipper/Getty Images for The Alliance for Women in Media
Schipper/Getty Images for The Alliance for Women in Media

ABC News’ outgoing president Kim Godwin’s very public exit tour continued Monday with her husband attempting to form a bizarre PR campaign to boost her image following the veteran newswoman’s resignation on Sunday.

The public call for submissions comes after months of turmoil within her newsroom, including uproar after Godwin, the first Black person to lead an American network news division, reportedly said during a meeting with staffers that black people don’t watch the news—despite the fact that Pew Research Center data shows that Black Americans are the most likely of any racial or ethnic group to get their news on television. She also claimed that the organization had overcompensated for a lack of diversity following the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020.

Godwin’s departure was also hastened after she badmouthed her effective boss, Debra OConnell, according to the New York Post. That marked the “last straw,” a source told the Post Monday.

As of Monday night, none of the network’s high-profile stars, including Michael Strahan and Robin Roberts, stepped up to offer public support for their outgoing boss—even in the wake of her husband’s plea.

“It is with earnest humbleness, I am requesting your assistance in sharing how Dr. Kimberly Godwin Manning, has profoundly changed your life,” her husband Derrick Manning wrote in a lengthy Instagram post on Sunday night praising her career just as news of her resignation became public. “Please post your heartfelt expressions of support via the following hashtag: #thankyoukimgodwin.

News of her controversial comments first came via bombshell reporting in both CNN and Puck.

The latter’s Dylan Byers reported on Friday that several Black ABC staffers had “soured on her leadership,” particularly after she made the remark about Black viewers—or ABC’s lack thereof.

Chaos at ABC News as Embattled Boss Kim Godwin Steps Down

In the days that followed, two current ABC News staffers expressed their displeasure at Godwin’s comments to The Daily Beast, calling them “incredibly disappointing.”

“[Her words] couldn’t be further from the truth, but it also speaks to a larger issue about systems and individuals who uphold prejudice and stereotypes for personal gain,” one ABC staffer told The Daily Beast over the weekend, before Godwin announced her exit.

A number of prominent Black journalists both inside and outside ABC either did not respond or declined to comment when reached by The Daily Beast with questions about Godwin’s comments.

The recent uproar, however, was certainly not Godwin’s first time in the hot seat.

She also reportedly developed an out-of-touch reputation among staff during her tenure as ABC News president, and was accused of eschewing newsroom work in favor of high-profile events, including multiple White House Correspondents’ Dinners and and trips to glitzy, high-profile events and news scenes that made her an unusually public persona among news executives.

The company recently moved another Disney executive, Debra OConnell, above Godwin, a perch that gave her purview over the ABC newsroom. The decision left Godwin “apoplectic,” The Daily Beast’s Confider reported at the time.

Godwin’s immediate successor was not announced, though OConnell, whose background is in sales, wrote to staff in her own memo that she would run the division in the interim.

“Since assuming this role in February, my goal has been—and will continue to be—to provide this team with the means necessary to build on our success and carry on the proud tradition of ABC News into a future full of opportunity and innovation,” OConnell said.

Godwin’s departure, however, has left the network’s top talent without a dedicated president just months before the election.

Godwin did not run the network’s Monday news call, though she was in the office. She did, however, find time to publicly post her departure letter on Instagram.

“The last few lines are this…’ I leave with my head held high and wish the entire team continued success. #oneabcnews In faith and favor, Kim,’” she captioned the post. “You’ll have to read the rest here. So very grateful. Jeremiah 29:11.”

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