Earlier this week, ESPN suspended NFL analysts Donovan McNabb and Eric Davis after they were both accused of sexually harassing a former wardrobe stylist when they both worked at the NFL Network. If the Worldwide Leader was hoping this would be the last they’d hear of current male employees acting badly with women, that wishful thinking went out the window today.
In a deep-dive by the Boston Globe about the network’s frat-boy culture, two prominent faces of ESPN — longtime SportsCenter anchor John Buccigross and senior fantasy analyst Matthew Berry — were accused of sexual harassment and engaging in inappropriate behavior with women.
Adrienne Lawrence, who joined ESPN in a 2015 fellowship agreement to increase racial diversity at the network, told the Globe of her experience with Buccigross:
Lawrence accused John Buccigross, a longtime SportsCenter anchor who she viewed as a mentor, of sending unsolicited shirtless photographs of himself and calling her “dollface,” “#dreamgirl,” and “#longlegs” in messages from 2016 reviewed by the Globe. Lawrence said she tried to remain cordial in the messages but at one point responded: “You need to wear clothes, sir.”
When rumors spread that the two were in a relationship, Lawrence repeatedly complained to company officials and was advised by a supervisor to drop the matter, according to the complaint.
Lawrence said that the network retaliated against her by reducing her on-air time and eventually deciding not to offer her a permanent job. ESPN stated that it never guaranteed Lawrence a permanent position and told the Globe that after a thorough investigation, they found her claims against Buccigross to be “entirely without merit.” She filed a complaint against ESPN this past summer.
Actress and writer Jenn Sterger revealed that when she auditioned for a job at ESPN in 2006, an executive showed her a copy of Playboy that she had appeared in. Meanwhile, Berry — who was then interviewing as a contributor — took her to a strip club. She noted that the strip club trip came after a group dinner with male job candidates and that she was teased about being uncomfortable once they got there.
While both Sterger and Berry were scolded over the trip, Berry was given a job while Sterger wasn’t. While ESPN said they went with another woman with more experience than Sterger, an email from that time stated that they questioned Sterger’s “professional behavior,” presumably referencing the strip club visit.
Sterger further revealed that two years later, she had an “uncomfortable encounter” with Berry when she visited ESPN about another job opportunity, stating that he made sexual comments to her at that time.
[image via screengrab]
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