ESPN Network Under Scrutiny As Previous Female Employees Come Forward.
Another case of sexual misconduct is currently underway at ESPN and this time it is not a case of a single deviant as was the case of Matt Lauer and NBC but more of an environmental situation. According to claims made by previous female employees, ESPN is not a female-friendly place to work.
“ESPN has failed to address its deeply ingrained culture of sexism and hostile treatment of women,” said Adrienne Lawrence, who filed the complaint this summer against ESPN. Lawrence had worked as a lawyer before she joined ESPN in 2015 as part of a fellowship designed to increase racial diversity at the sports network.”
Lawrence also claims that anchor John Buccigross had behaved inappropriately towards her during her time at ESPN. Using pet names on her like dollface and similar endearing terms. Buccigross released the texts to back up the claim that seemed to show that they had a budding friendship and were going out together with some frequency. If it were not for the allegations the texts Buccigross released would look like a new couple or a guy trying to move out of the friend zone. Although he was not her superior he was her senior and he did send her this text:
Another woman, one of the few solo female anchors on SportsCenter, said she was told her show was moving in another direction and she’d no longer have a job on it weeks before she went on maternity leave last year. She is one of several who said they were given less desirable positions or laid off before, during, or after maternity leave.
ESPN has tried to jettison its frat-boy reputation with new training and policies, including requiring employees to disclose personal relationships with each other to the company. ESPN says there are postings throughout the building advising employees of their rights and of the means for reporting complaints.
But charges of insensitivity to women surfaced again last year when broadcaster Erin Andrews testified that ESPN would not let her return to work until she did an interview in 2009 about a stalker who leaked videos of her undressing at a hotel during a work trip in order to prove that she didn’t release the materials herself. Andrews, who left ESPN for Fox Sports in 2012, testified that she was crying while she waited to do an interview with Oprah.
Current and former employees say the network still faces problems when it comes to older men preying on younger women, particularly production assistants just out of college.
“It’s like cutting your arm in an ocean full of sharks,” said one current employee, who said she has received unwanted physical contact from one colleague and listened to another rate women on a score of one to ten. “The second new blood is in the water, they start circling.”