Giangreco Gets Benched For Joking About Detroit
Robert Feder, Chicago Sun-Times, Jun. 18
A joke made at the expense of the city of Detroit and the NBA Championship-winning Pistons has landed Chicago’s No. 1 sportscaster in trouble with his bosses.
Mark Giangreco will begin serving a one-week suspension without pay Monday for a bit he delivered during his sports report on WLS-Channel 7’s late newscast Tuesday.
Commenting on the Pistons’ victory, Giangreco showed an old black-and-white movie clip of a city being burned to the ground and joked that it was “just another typical night for Detroit.” He followed that immediately by saying that he was “just kidding.”
Among complaints received by the ABC-owned station were some from viewers who perceived that the joke had racial overtones.
“I now realize those comments and visuals were inappropriate and insensitive, and I deeply regret making them,” Giangreco said in a statement. “While I did not intend to offend our viewers, I feel badly that I have. Please accept my apology.”
Channel 7 officials declined to comment, calling it a “personnel matter.” No action was taken against any other employees.
Known for his wit and smart-aleck demeanor, Giangreco, 51, has been the highest-paid sportscaster in Chicago since he joined top-rated Channel 7 in 1994 after 12 years at WMAQ-Channel 5.
The disciplinary action comes several weeks after Channel 7 suspended reporter Sarah Schulte for making disparaging remarks about minorities in off-air comments that were picked up by a microphone and recorded on a digital server.