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ESPN host bolts network to join Outkick: ‘Cancel culture doesn’t exist here’

Hours after digital media company OutKick and its founder Clay Travis announced they had lured host Charly Arnolt away from ESPN to join their conservative-leaning organization that covers sports, news and politics, Arnolt told IndyStar she is looking forward to finally being able to speak freely.

‘It feels like I was a little bit stifled in the past,’ said Arnolt, 35, who spent the past five years at ESPN and the last two years under a full-time contract. ‘People are too scared to speak up for the fear of being called politically incorrect. The idea of cancel culture, it doesn’t exist here. I speak freely.

‘I have a lot of opinions that I haven’t been able to express, and I can’t wait to get started.’

Arnolt, a former sports anchor at Fox59 in Indianapolis, will be co-hosting a new show currently in development, which will be announced before the football season.

Travis tweeted Monday that Arnolt ‘will be one of the hosts of our new Outkick morning show debuting this summer. She’s leaving @espn so she can actually say what she thinks. Awesome addition.’ Travis, who founded OutKick in 2011 then sold it to Fox Corporation in 2021, has been an outspoken critic of ESPN.

Through a spokesperson Monday, ESPN declined comment on Arnolt leaving the company.

Arnolt, an Indianapolis native, told IndyStar that throughout her career she has struggled covering ‘ultra important issues as they affect not just sports but our society and culture in general.’

‘There are a lot of issues people refuse to remain unbiased about because of the network they’re on,’ she said.

When asked what her political leanings were, Arnolt said, ‘I’m not going to put a stamp on my political beliefs. I think a lot of what OutKick does best is they approach everything from a common sense standpoint and that is where I stand.

‘There are a lot of issues if you use a little common sense, you can find the answer the right way.’

Arnolt’s morning show on OutKick will cover not only sports but pop culture and politics. Arnolt will remain in New York City, where she has lived for the past six years.

Beyond her show, Arnolt will be featured across OutKick platforms ‘to discuss trending topics and to provide her authentic takes on the most pressing stories in sports,’ the company said. She also will likely appear as a guest host on Fox News programming ‘here and there,’ she said.

While with ESPN, Arnolt hosted ‘First Take,’ ‘SportsCenter’ and made regular appearances on ESPN+’s weekday morning show, ‘SportsNation.’She also launched an ESPN podcast called ‘First Take, Her Take.’ Before joining ESPN full time, Arnolt was with WWE as Charly Caruso. In addition to OutKick, Arnolt will remain as a host for UFC.

Follow IndyStar sports reporter Dana Benbow on Twitter: @DanaBenbow. Reach her via email: dbenbow@indystar.com.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY

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