Hank Williams Jr. slams ESPN and Disney: 'Mickey is a mean mouse'
The country singer of ESPN's "Monday Night Football" theme song who parted ways with the sports network last week after making comments on "Fox & Friends" comparing President Obama to Hitler made his first appearence since leaving the network on Tuesday's edition of ABC's "The View," showing much of the outrageous and rambling personality that was on display during the Fox News Channel program.
Wearing a New York Yankees/Mickey Mantle jersey and orange-colored sunglasses, Williams took several shots at Disney-owned ESPN, saying at one point, "Mickey is a mean mouse." Though he insisted he was misunderstood and was using an analogy between Hitler and Obama to make a political point, he declined to apologize or take back his earlier statements.
When co-host Joy Behar said that mentioning Hitler in his Obama statement was "treacherous" and that he could have mentioned Stalin or another controversial world figure, Williams replied, "I didn't go to Harvard. I'm not smart enough to know the difference."
Williams kept repeating that ESPN had violated his constitutional rights: "I guess it's called stepping on the toes of free speech." Noting that ABC, like ESPN, is owned by the Walt Disney Company, host Barbara Walters pointed out ESPN was making a point in showing Williams the potential consequences of free speech, Williams clapped his hands: "That's good. I applaud them. That's their freedom of speech."
"All My Rowdy Friends," the theme song sung by Williams, was pulled from the broadcast after the "Fox & Friends" segment.
One of the more bizarre moments in "The View" interview came after the panel pointed out a phrase from ESPN's statement cutting its ties with Williams: "The success of "Monday Night Football' has always been about the games, and that will continue."
Williams replied with a quote he said President Harry Truman made in the Rose Garden in 1948. "He was asked a political question and he said, 'Son, never kick a cow turd on a hot day.' The bottom line, folks, is, Mickey is a mean mouse. He stepped into this pile — ESPN, and how he is doing this." He stood and started shaking his arm as he were trying to get rid of something.
He then turned and pointed to Mickey Mantle's name on his jersey: "This is my Mickey, right here."
Near the end of the interview, Williams said he had recorded a new song about the furor, "Keep The Change," that had been downloaded 100,000 times since Monday afternoon. He then announced, "As of May 1 in 2012, ladies and gentlemen, me and my song will be free agents. America is a country of choice and options, and I have choice and options."
Williams gave his summary of the situation: "Disney, ABC, ESPN, me and the opening of 'Monday Night Football' are like the Spanish-American war. They're history."
— Greg Braxton
Photo: Hank WIlliams Jr. shows "The View" co-hosts Sherri Shepard and Elizabeth Hasselbeck the dictionary definition of "analogy" on Tuesday's show. Credit: Lou Rocco / ABC.