700-WLW, a Cincinnati radio station, is issuing periodic “Big Ben Warnings” in the lead-up to Sunday’s Bengals vs. Steelers game. “The Steelers quarterback has been spotted in the downtown Cincinnati area. All females ages 18-40 are to use extreme caution, especially if heavily consuming alcohol” the fake alert warns, referencing Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger who has twice been accused of rape.
In 2009, Roethlisberger was accused in a civil suit of raping an employee of the Harrah’s hotel in Lake Tahoe, Nevada after calling her to his room to fix his television. The woman alleges that she was then grabbed by Roethlisberger and forced to have sexual intercourse. The case was settled out of court.
A year later, in 2010, Roethlisberger was again accused of sexual assault, this time by a woman who alleges that the Pittsburgh football player forced her into a bar bathroom and raped her. Ultimately, the alleged victim asked the DA not to prosecute, but her lawyer—according to Broadly—“[emphasized] that the she was not recanting her accusation but rather was afraid that the trial would be ‘a very intrusive personal experience’ due to the ‘extraordinary media attention’ it would receive.”
As a result of the accusations, Roethlisberger was suspended for a total of four games. According to Forbes, he is one of the highest paid athletes in the world.
The radio spots, which 700-WLW claims they will continue to play all weekend, not only mock Roethlisberger, but his victims, as well.
“If you see Big Ben and he flashes Little Ben, you are asked to report it to authorities immediately,” the announcer says. “…he poses the greatest threat to 18-to-40-year-olds, especially those with boob jobs in the downtown Cincinnati area.”
While few tears are shed over the pain these ads might cause Roethlisberger, it’s cringeworthy—yet par for the course—to see rape allegations reduced to the empty taunts of sports fans. But when the NFL treats abuse and sexual assault allegations as a joke, the world will follow suit. (Or is it the other way around...)
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