The Washington Redskins Are Being Exposed For A Culture Of Sexual Harassment

We don’t usually cover sports, but this is too mind-boggling to pass over. For a few days, rumors started going around the internet that the Washington Post was about to expose some serious sh*t about the Washington Redskins (or whatever the f*ck they’re calling themselves now). That report came out yesterday, and it exposes a culture of misogyny, sexual harassment, and complete lack of respect for women. Now, did I expect a team who’s been holding onto a racist name for years despite constant calls for change to be a beacon of tolerance and a safe place for marginalized people? Not exactly, but the allegations are still extremely disturbing.

The new exclusive report from the Washington Post details the alleged sexual harassment experienced by 15 female employees of the team and two female reporters. Disgustingly-but-not-super-shockingly, the alleged perpetrators of the harassment included higher-ups like Alex Santos, the club’s director of pro personnel; Richard Mann II, assistant director of pro personnel; Dennis Greene, former president of business operations; and Larry Michael, the senior vice president of content and “voice of the Redskins.” In other words, this sh*t went all the way to the top. As you probably already guessed, nobody felt safe going to HR because they didn’t think it would do anything and they feared retribution.

Santos, who was fired this past week, was accused by six former employees and two reporters of making inappropriate comments about their bodies (like telling one woman she had “an ass like a wagon”) and asking them to date him, acting like his workplace was his personal dating app. For all the men who might be reading this: No! He also told a reporter that she had a “great ass for a little white girl.” (This guy apparently had a thing for butts, because he also texted another employee that she had a “nice butt.” Gross.)

Mann, in similarly gross behavior, “joked” with an employee that he would bring her lunch if she’d let him squeeze her butt. He also texted one female employee asking if her breasts were real or fake, which he also said was a “joke.” Someone should teach these guys what a punchline is.

And Larry Michael, despite being the “voice” of the team, was no voice of reason. He apparently once commented on the attractiveness of an intern (imagine your grandpa telling you a girl in college is hot, now go pour bleach into your brain to erase that image), and in 2017 made a comment in passing that a woman from the sponsorship staff had a “tight ass” (again with the butts!!), as well as a number of other disturbing comments. Just this week, Michael announced his retirement, which I’m sure has nothing at all to do with the allegations.

And even the architecture of this f*cking place enabled these gross men to demean the female employees: there was one staircase that was lined with clear plexiglass at the top, which allowed anyone standing below to look up a woman’s skirt. The women would teach each other to avoid that staircase at all costs.

If the revelation that the Redskins management cultivates a culture of harassment and degradation of women surprises you, it shouldn’t, because back in 2018 they were exposed for treating their cheerleaders like sex workers for their male sponsors. In 2018, the New York Times published an explosive report about a 2013 trip to Costa Rica that was supposed to be a calendar shoot for the then-Washington Redskins cheerleaders, but ended up being more like a true crime documentary. First off, when the women arrived in Costa Rica, Redskins officials collected their passports, which is usually the first thing that happens when people arrive on a cult commune, not at a company event.

The photoshoot was taking place at the adults-only Occidental Grand Papagayo resort on Culebra Bay, which is a little eyebrow-raising in and of itself. And although they were told the shoot was for the calendar, some of the cheerleaders said they were required to be topless… even though the pictures used in the calendar would not have nudity. Why be topless, then? Because the team had invited a few sponsors and FedExField suite holders to come watch.

Then, one night, nine of the cheerleaders were told by Stephanie Jojokian, the director of the squad, that they had a “special assignment” for the night: to personally escort some of the male sponsors to a nightclub. Even worse? They had reportedly been personally chosen by the men. Though the nightclub excursion didn’t involve sex, the cheerleaders said the demand (“We weren’t asked, we were told,” one of the women anonymously told the New York Times) amounted to “pimping us out.”

Jojokian, of course, vehemently denied that the nightclub event was mandatory and that the cheerleaders who went were chosen by the male sponsors, insisting to the New York Times that she’s a “mama bear” and the cheerleading squad is “a big family.” Two cheerleaders who were captains of the squad in 2013 said Jojokian never forced the women to do anything they didn’t want to, and characterized the nightclub night as “just a night of relaxation and to be away from it all.” They also went on the Today show to assert that nobody was forced to do anything, and they were not selected by the sponsors to accompany the men to the club.

The Redskins said in a statement, “The Redskins’ cheerleader program is one of the NFL’s premier teams in participation, professionalism, and community service. Each Redskin cheerleader is contractually protected to ensure a safe and constructive environment.” Sure.

And the Costa Rica trip wasn’t even the first time the team pulled a bait-and-switch, surprising them with men at what the cheerleaders thought was a team event. They also allegedly did the same thing in 2012 at a mandatory “team-bonding boat trip.” At that event, men were turkey basting liquor into cheerleaders’ mouths, handing out cash in twerking contests—sh*t you’d expect to see at a frat party, not a “team-bonding” event. (To her credit, Jojokian said she was unaware the men would be there.)

What’s even scarier is that apparently the entire reason those creepy men were there in the first place is because Greene sold access to the cheerleaders, including the Costa Rica photoshoot, as part of premium suite packages. He also started a program of “cheerleader ambassadors” who did not cheer or dance, but rather, they were hired for their appearance, to look pretty and entertain fans. Greene resigned in 2018 under pressure after the New York Times published an investigation into the program.

The team has hired a law firm who told the New York Times they would conduct “an independent review of the team’s culture, policies and allegations of workplace misconduct.” The owner, Dan Snyder, said in a statement that they would “institute new policies and procedures and strengthen our human resources infrastructure to not only avoid these issues in the future but most importantly create a team culture that is respectful and inclusive of all.”

In short, the Washington football team’s racist name is not the beginning and end of the issues with this team, and let’s hope they actually make good on their promise to create a “respectful and inclusive” team culture—but from these reports, they have a long f*cking way to go.

Images: Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

People Are Already Pissed About The Michael Jackson Doc ‘Leaving Neverland’

Last month, a new Michael Jackson documentary aired at Sundance, called Leaving Neverland. The documentary is specifically about the allegations of child sexual abuse against Michael Jackson, featuring detailed accounts from two of his accusers, Wade Robson and James Safechuck. The documentary will air in two parts on HBO: one two-hour segment is coming out Sunday, March 3, and the other Monday, March 4. Those who have seen the film describe it as “powerful and convincing,” a “bombshell,” and “more disturbing than you could imagine,” all of which makes me want to go to sleep right now and not wake up until I can watch it for myself. Somewhere in a Chicago jail cell, R. Kelly is reading these reviews and breathing a sigh of relief. Michael Jackson’s family, however, is neither thrilled nor convinced by what this documentary brings to light—and they’re making their feelings known.

Earlier this week, four members of Michael Jackson’s family—brothers Tito, Marlon, and Jackie, plus Michael’s nephew Taj—went on CBS This Morning to decry the documentary and defend Michael Jackson against its claims. While none of them have seen the film, they’re certain that what’s described by Jackson’s alleged victims is nothing more than a series of lies. “He’s my little brother,” says Jackie Johnson. “He’s not like that.” Oof.

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Jackie Jackson explains why he won't be seeing "Leaving Neverland" – Watch the full interview on CBS This Morning today, 27 February. #leavingneverland #truth #liesrunsprintsbutthetruthrunsmarathons #tajjackson #jackiejackson #titojackson #marlonjackson #fightback #defend #michaeljackson #thejacksons #JacksonsLegacy

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Most of the family’s defense of Jackson centers on that point: the man they knew couldn’t have done these things; the media has always misunderstood him. Jackie describes him as “a kid at heart,” while nephew Taj laments “naiveté” as Michael Jackson’s “downfall.” While admitting that stories of Michael’s sleepovers with children could sound odd “to the outside world,” Taj insists it was innocent—and that Michael simply “didn’t have that bone in his body to look at it the other way.”

To be clear, the Jackson family does not view the alleged victims featured in Leaving Neverland as benevolent third parties who got confused, or otherwise misunderstood things, but rather, money- and fame-hungry liars. On the day of the documentary’s debut, Taj Jackson tweeted the following.

After years of coaching and studying for these roles, I’m sure Wade (self proclaimed “Master of Deception”) and Jimmy both gave Oscar winning performances today. Media, please do a 10 minute google search before you condemn an innocent man who is no longer here to defend himself.

— Taj Jackson (@tajjackson3) January 25, 2019

Doubling down on his claims that this is a long con for personal gain (even though the filmmakers insist the Robson and Safechuck were not paid for the documentary), Taj affirmed on CBS This Morning that “it’s always been about money,” and that people see his uncle as “a blank check.” He’s since set up a GoFundMe page to produce a documentary of his own—one he hopes will “destroy decades of salacious myths” about his uncle. (The stated goal is $777,000, which seems oddly specific. Almost $64,000 has been raised so far.) While Jackson’s other family members are less vocal online, they add in the interview that there’s “not one piece of evidence” corroborating the alleged victims’ stories. As Deadline points out, they don’t offer up “what, exactly, such evidence might be.”

Finally, the Jackson family is emphasizing the fact that both alleged victims featured in this documentary—Robson and Safechuck—testified to Jackson’s innocence during his first criminal trial, and swore he’d never behaved inappropriately toward them. This is, of course, addressed in the film—but I’ll let you watch that for yourselves. When Robson was asked if he had anything to say to Jackson’s fans, and those who believe the documentary is a lie, he offered the following quote:

I understand that it is really hard for them to believe…Even though it happened to me, I still couldn’t believe it and I couldn’t believe that what Michael did was a bad thing, so I understand.

Wow. I’ve been less understanding about a mixed-up coffee order. Please note, I have not yet seen the documentary myself and would like to withhold full judgment until after the fact. Enjoy that objectivity while you can, because I am expecting my forthcoming review of the film to be…opinionated, put lightly. Whether you’re a Jackson fan, or someone who’s believed the allegations for a long time and has been waiting for something like this, suffice it to say this documentary will capture your attention. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have start practicing my voice for when I call in sick on Monday.

Images: Instagram; Twitter

These 4 Abusers All Worked In The White House This Year

This week Rob Porter, the now former White House staff secretary (bye, boo), stepped down when two of his ex-wives accused him of physically and mentally abusing them during their marriages to him. Trump, as he is wont to do, reminded everyone that Porter considers himself innocent and that he “very good job when he was at the White House.” Yeah, OJ Simpson did a good job at football, but that isn’t the issue here, Donny. Why is it that this White House is so obsessed with defending abusers?

Everyday is a new day to wake up and learn that not only is the Trump administration fucking us as a whole, but the individuals that his abhorrent cabinet is composed of, have been fucking and fucking over people their whole lives. AKA Trump surrounds himself with people who are legally defined as creeps. It isn’t just Porter. Here are the other people hanging at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave who have super serious allegations against them.

Steve Bannon

Somehow Steve Bannon’s scaley ass landed a wife. That might’ve been a surprise, but what unfortunately isn’t is that that (now) former wife charged him with domestic violence and battery. The chargers were later dismissed, as was Steve Bannon, from both his job at Breitbart and the White House.

David Sorensen

Porter isn’t the only person who dipped out this week. Sorensen, a speechwriter who worked under Stephen Miller, quietly stepped down after his ex wife of two years came forward accusing him of being violent and emotionally abusive. The only thing surprising about this is that someone helps Stephen Miller write his speeches.

Andrew Puzder

Puzder was the former CEO of Carl’s Jr and was Trump’s nominee for Labor Secretary. Everything you really need to know is that this is what Carl’s Jr ads are like. Oh, also his ex-wife made allegations of domestic abuse against him. Technically this guy never made it to the White House because he withdrew himself from consideration for the Labor Secretary position which might be the only smart thing he’s like ever done?

Donald Trump

Ding ding ding! Our president has 19 abuse allegations against him and has been caught on tape, for our great nation to hear, discussing grabbing a woman by her genitals. We still voted for him, so maybe we are just fucking ourselves!

If you or anyone you know is a victim of abuse, call the Domestic Abuse Hotline for help ASAP.

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