The Washington Post reports that 15 women who once worked for the Washington “Redskins” football team have come forward to accuse former employees of the club of verbal abuse and sexual harassment. The allegations from these women paint a picture of a hostile and abusive work environment, where women were frequently subject to sexually inappropriate comments, told to flirt with clients and wear revealing clothing in order to secure deals, and experienced vicious verbal abuse on a daily basis. Over the past week, several of the men employed by the team who were named in these accusations have been fired, and one has unexpectedly retired.
Of the 15 women who came forward, Emily Applegate was the only one who felt safe tying her name to the accusations. The 14 other women chose to remain anonymous due to fears of litigation after some signed non-disclosure agreements with the club that threaten legal action if they speak negatively about the club. In addition to these former employees, several reporters also spoke to the Post about their experiences being sexually harassed by the men named in these accusations.
These are just a few descriptions of the treatment that these women experienced while working for the team:
“He would tell me I was stupid for not being able to print something out the way he wanted and directly follow with: ‘Oh, did you run extra yesterday? You look really good,’ ” Applegate said.
“I was propositioned basically every day at training camp,” said one female employee who worked for the team in the mid-2010s for several years.
“He told me I had a great ass for a little white girl,” Princiotti said. “The general sentiment was that I should wear less clothing.”
“It was disgusting,” said one former female employee who heard the audio. “This is a grown man who could be my grandfather, and he’s talking about someone younger than me.”
“All he had to do was type it in a GPS, and he spent 20 minutes screaming at how f——-g incompetent I was for not giving him proper directions,” she said. “I would leave work crying probably four days out of the week.”
These are only a small number of the awful stories of harassment, objectification, and abuse that these women experienced while working for the team—behavior that was clearly normalized, as it went on unchecked for at least a decade.
In response to the allegations, the Washington team has hired a law firm to conduct an independent review of the situation, and released a statement:
“The Washington Redskins football team takes issues of employee conduct seriously. … While we do not speak to specific employee situations publicly, when new allegations of conduct are brought forward that are contrary to these policies, we address them promptly,” the team said.
When speaking about her experience working for the team, one former employee said:
“I have never been in a more hostile, manipulative, passive-aggressive environment… and I worked in politics. …With such a toxic, mood-driven environment, and the owner behaving like he does, how could anyone think these women would go to HR?”