A former cheerleader for the Washington Football Team has accused Dan Snyder of humiliating her at a charity event at the Washington Hilton in 2004 by suggesting that she join one of the owner’s male friends in an upstairs hotel suite.
The accusation is one in a series of allegations made in a new Washington Post report in which more than 100 current and former employees tell the paper the team’s workplace was one in which women were “marginalized, discriminated against and exploited.”
Wednesday’s story comes more than a month after 17 women accused five former high-ranking team officials of sexual harassment. The initial accusations prompted Washington to hire an outside law firm to investigate the claims.
Tiffany Bacon Scourby, a former cheerleader for the team, told the paper that in 2004, Snyder suggested she “go upstairs” with Anthony Roberts, his longtime friend and the “official ophthalmologist” of the team, during a charity boxing event at the Washington Hilton ballroom. Scourby said Snyder said she and Roberts should “get to know each other better” in his hotel room.
Scourby said at the time, she reported the incident to Donald Wells, the team’s cheerleader director.
He told the newspaper he remembered the conversation.
“I remember her saying, ‘Daniel Snyder offered me the suite with one of his friends,’” Wells told the Post. “She was more or less propositioned.”
“There’s a power dynamic, and Dan Snyder looked down on me,” Scourby said.
Neither Washington nor Snyder commented on the allegations for the Post article, the paper reported, and a team spokesman declined comment to The Washington Times.
The paper also reported the existence of a videotape featuring outtakes from the filming of a 2008 cheerleader swimsuit shoot that included shots of inadvertently exposed breasts. The cheerleaders did not know the tape was created, and the Post reported that Larry Michael, the team’s former play-by-play man and senior vice president, had initially requested his staff to create a video featuring “the good bits.”
Brad Baker, who worked under Michael, said that Michael told his staff the video was for Snyder.
“Larry said something to the effect of, ‘We have a special project that we need to get done for the owner today: He needs us to get the good bits of the behind-the-scenes video from the cheerleader shoot onto a DVD for him,’” Baker said.
Another similar video was created in 2010, this time using footage from the filming of the cheerleaders’ trip to the Dominican Republic. The paper reported Michael demanded the footage be burned to a DVD titled “For Executive Meeting.”
Michael denied the allegations to the Post.
The paper also reported that another 25 women said they were sexually harassed while working for the team by male bosses, colleagues and players.
Last month, Snyder said in a statement that sexual harassment had “no place” in the franchise, noting the team had hired an outside investigator to investigate the claims.
“This story has strengthened my commitment to setting a new culture and standard for our team, a process that began with the hiring of Coach [Ron] Rivera earlier this year,” Snyder said last month after hiring attorney Beth Wilkinson to probe the allegations.
“Upon completion of her work, we will 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 to all,” he said.
This has been a tumultuous offseason for Snyder and Washington. In July, the team abandoned the moniker “Redskins” and is now using the temporary “Washington Football Team.” After the first allegations of workplace misconduct, Snyder hired two new executives — Julie Donaldson and team president Jason Wright — to help fix the team’s culture.
Snyder has also faced pressure from his three minority partners to sell the team, and when he denied to do so, the three owners hired an investment banking firm to sell their shares in the franchise.
• Matthew Paras can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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