Fifteen women say they were sexually harassed between 2006 and 2019 while they worked for the Washington, D.C. NFL franchise.
What We Know:
- The Washington Post broke news of the sexual harassment on Thursday. Fourteen of the women chose to remain anonymous because they signed a non-disclosure agreement or they feared retribution. The NFL team refused to release the women who wanted to come forward from their NDAs. The other woman, Emily Applegate, who started working with the team in 2014, spoke to the Post and said she would meet with another co-worker every day and “commiserate and cry about the frequent sexual harassment and verbal abuse they endured”.
- The allegations included unwelcome sexual advances or comments, requests to wear revealing clothing, and orders to flirt with clients to close deals. Seven employees accused the team’s radio announcer Larry Michael of making inappropriate comments. Michael resigned earlier this week. Six employees and two reporters accused director of pro personnel Alex Santos of making sexual advances. Assistant director of pro personnel Richard Mann II and chief operating officer Mitch Gershman were also accused in the allegations. The team fired Santos and Mann last week.
- Team owner Dan Snyder and president Bruce Allen were not accused of sexual misconduct, but they were accused of fostering a toxic and abusive work environment. Snyder would allegedly berate employees and set an example for employees. Snyder also allowed the human resources department to remain understaffed, making reporting difficult. The women also don’t believe that Snyder and Allen were unaware of the abuse, with Emily Applegate saying that Allen saw her crying on several occasions.
- Snyder addressed the allegations in an official press release on Friday. “The behavior described in yesterday’s Washington Post article has no place in our franchise or society,” Snyder said. The team will undergo an independent investigation with attorney Beth Wilkinson and will “institute new policies and procedures and strengthen our human resources infrastructure,” according to the statement.
Snyder has been under the microscope for keeping the franchise’s offensive name for years and the team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2007. These reports further reveal the kind of dysfunctional organization Snyder is running and the kind of abusive people he surrounds himself with.