Earlier this year, Under Armour employees received a bummer of an email! It notified them that they would no longer be allowed to whip out the corporate card at strip clubs and treat lap dances as a business expense. Poor buddies! So sad. HashtagMeTooHasGoneTooFar.
For years, employees—including top executives—of the sports-apparel company have taken “athletes or co-workers to strip clubs after some corporate and sporting events, and the company often paid for the visits of many attendees, people familiar with the matter said,” according to the Wall Street Journal. None-too-surprisingly, says the WSJ, these “strip-club visits were symptomatic of practices women at Under Armour found demeaning, according to more than a dozen current and former employees and executives.”
The Scores near downtown Baltimore—not too far from the Under Armour HQ—was reportedly a favorite destination for these outings. “On some visits, employees charged hundreds of dollars there to the company, according to some of the people familiar with the matter,” reports the Journal.
The change in policy was described by a company representative as a corrective to a “legacy issue.” But it seems that Under Armour has a bigger legacy issue than just expensing strip club visits. The WSJ spoke with current and former Under Armour executives and found that “many powerful roles at the company’s Baltimore headquarters were held by friends of [Chief Executive Kevin] Plank, and some women said they didn’t feel they had a fair shot at promotion.” Well, maybe they shoulda been chiller about all those strip club visits.
There are a few other eyebrow-raising allegations detailed in the piece. Plank’s brother, Scott Plank, reportedly left the company in 2012 “amid allegations of sexual misconduct,” according to the WSJ. Co-founder Kip Fulks, who last year left the company, reportedly “had a romantic relationship with a subordinate, a violation of company policy.” And, for several years, Kevin Plank reportedly hosted a party for “executives, athletes and VIP guests” for which “company event managers invited young female staffers based on attractiveness to appeal to male guests, according to former employees—a practice the event managers called ‘stocking the pond.’” Some attendees of last year’s event said there were “go-go dancers wearing cutoff shorts and midriff tops.”
If only it were as simple as taking away the corporate card.