Michael Strahan told ABC staff he felt he couldn’t “speak up and raise his voice” behind the scenes on “Live with Kelly” — fearing reprisals as a black man.
The “Good Morning America” host spoke out during a town hall on racism with Bob Iger on June 4 in front of all ABC and Disney employees.
Strahan fell out with co-host Kelly Ripa when he moved full-time to “GMA” in 2016, and we’re told: “Michael said that there were some very tense situations with executives who got argumentative and loud on the show, and he was very aware he couldn’t speak up or raise his voice as he was worried he would be seen as threatening.”
While Michael didn’t refer to “Live” by name, sources tell us he was referring to the show with his comments. In January, Strahan talked about the turmoil on the show and said he thought he was joining “Live” to be a partner — not a “sidekick.”
He admitted that Ripa had refused to meet him ahead of his controversial exit, although he said: “I don’t hate her. I do respect her for what she can do at her job. I cannot say enough about how good she is at her job.”
The anti-racism symposium was called in the wake of George Floyd’s death and moderated by journalist Byron Pitts, co-anchor of “Nightline.”
It came just weeks before damning allegations of racism against ABC exec Barbara Fedida, who has been placed on administrative leave as the company launches an investigation.
Other ABC News journalists who took part were senior justice correspondent Pierre Thomas, Chicago-based correspondent Alex Perez, Atlanta-based correspondent Steve Osunsami, Dallas-based correspondent Marcus Moore, and Los Angeles-based “Eyewitness News” anchor Marc Brown. The group discussed the “reality of reporting and race,” while sharing their own experiences with racial discrimination, we’re told.
New Disney TV chief Peter Rice — who joined the network from Fox last year — sent a link of the meeting to all staff afterward.
Meanwhile, ABC News boss James Goldston has been holding quarterly meetings with a group of black anchors and correspondents, we’re told. The most recent meeting was last week.