A new report from the Washington Post on Wednesday revealed more disturbing sexual harassment allegations from 25 former female employees of the Washington Football Team.
Five weeks ago, the Post published sexual harassment allegations from 17 different current and former female Washington Football Team employees.
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In all, 42 total women are alleging that they were sexually harassed by other employees or executives while working for Washington.
These new allegations involve an inappropriate proposition from team owner Dan Snyder, illicit video outtakes from a calendar shoot allegedly edited together for Snyder and other executives, and multiple instances of sexual harassment in the workplace that were grievously mishandled by the team.
Brad Baker, a former production manager in the team’s broadcasting department, claims that in 2008, former team play-by-play broadcaster Larry Michael asked him and two others to edit together a video of the “good bits” of the recent cheerleader calendar video shoot in Aruba.
Those outtakes featured the cheerleaders adjusting their bathing suits and revealing their breasts and genitals as they changed positions and moved props for the shoot. Michael, who resigned after the first wave of allegations surfaced, was essentially asking for an uncensored video of team cheerleaders for his personal use.
The other two people Michael allegedly asked to help with this project denied that it ever happened, as did Michael himself. But a former employee turned the 10-minute video over to the Post, and analysis confirmed that the video was created in June 2008 and had not been manipulated since then. They compared it to the promotional video broadcast, and found that it contains shots of the cheerleaders’ breasts and genitals which were censored in the official version.
Another video was allegedly made after a different shoot in 2010 which contained even more footage of partially nude cheerleaders. The unnamed former employee also turned this video over to the Post, and said that they witnessed a producer splicing together footage for the video specifically for Snyder.
The former employee told The Post, “I saved the video because I didn’t think anyone would believe it was real.” This former employee decided to provide the videos to The Post after its July 16 report, out of a desire to see the NFL “hold the team more accountable.”
The cheerleaders interviewed by the Post did not know about the secret uncensored videos until they were told during their interviews. They said they felt shocked, disgusted, violated and nauseous by it. Donald Wells, the former cheerleader director, had a visceral reaction.
Wells, the longtime cheerleader director, was so taken aback by the news of the videos that he cried.
“I worked so hard to protect them,” he said. “They are daughters and wives and mothers. This is disgusting.”
Will there be an independent investigation?
After the allegations first surfaced in July, Snyder announced that he was hiring D.C. attorney Beth Wilkinson to conduct an investigation of Washington’s workplace. Many of the people interviewed for the Post’s story said they hope the NFL takes over the probe.
“An independent investigation is needed,” said Brittany Pareti, a marketing executive who worked in Washington’s community and charitable programs from 2007-2012. “We cannot trust a report from this organization to be unbiased.”
These new accusations now directly involve Snyder, and include serious violations of personal privacy. Snyder isn’t conducting the investigation, but he chose the person to run it. Unless the report of the investigation is released directly to the public, without any input or massaging from Snyder or anyone else from the Washington team, how can anyone trust it?
The NFL launched an independent investigation on Wednesday afternoon, and commissioner Roger Goodell condemned the behavior detailed in the story.
The Washington Football Team released a statement on Wednesday night, too, and Snyder took “full responsibility” for the accusations though denied knowing about them.
Liz Roscher/Yahoo Sports US