Since former Golf Channel anchor and reporter Lisa Cornwell went public with her experiences of misogyny during her years working at the NBC-owned network, a number of current and former employees have come forward to share their own stories of sexism and harassment. The Washington Post reports that many of the women spoke under the condition of anonymity, largely out of fear of breaking the non-disclosure agreements they signed. Although some of the men responsible for creating the toxic and sexist workplace have since left the network, these women say that the workplace culture remains the same.
In one instance, a 22-year-old freelance production assistant’s boss allegedly sent her sexually explicit emails, which included lines such as: “I’d like to make love to you and I dream about you every morning. … Do you feel any connection to me in that way. If not, no big deal. We’ll have the same work relationship we’ve had. The last thing I want to do is creep you out.” She initially didn’t report the incident because of fear of retaliation, but eventually went to human resources after her boss once again made her uncomfortable. A spokesman from NBC claims the manager was fired within two weeks of when the complaint was first made.
Another former Golf Channel employee, Chelsea Kite, said that a technical manager for live tournaments once told her he wouldn’t speak directly to her about her job performance because, as he said, “Women and people of color rule the world. We live in an HR world.” As Kite saw it, “because of the way the world was changing, he was afraid to talk to women and Black people at work.” Although the manager was fired after Kite reported the incident, Kite herself was also fired soon afterward in a move that she said felt like a punishment for speaking up.
In yet another incident, a woman who was in the control room during an LPGA tournament reportedly overheard a conversation from a group of men about a few Asian golfers, in which they described the women as having “porcelain skin” and looking like Japanese sex dolls. Multiple women who worked at the Golf Channel shared stories of being sidelined by male colleagues and superiors and having to deal with men who regularly berated and condescended to the women who worked around them. In early 2020, Lisa Cornwell filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that she had experienced discrimination and retaliation before leaving the network.
Greg Hughes, a spokesperson from NBC, disputed many of the women’s claims, stating: “Golf Channel is committed to providing a workplace where all employees are treated equitably and respectfully, and regularly conducts training to support that goal.”