#metoo #utoo ESPN? Misogyny allegations haunts ESPN

Thanks, Bhavini Mistry for your collaboration.

Adrienne Lawrence was waiting to be offered a full-time position as a legal analyst for ESPN, the well-known sports network.  During her two-year fellowship as a legal analyst, her dream job turned into a nightmare.

She experienced multiple instances of sexual harassment from her male colleagues according to an article in the Hollywood Reporter. These claims included unwanted sexual advances, inappropriate remarks about women, watching porn indiscreetly, and male employees keeping “scorecards” of the female employees they want to sleep with. Lawrence’s attorney, Brian Cohen, describes the indecencies the sport’s company meted out as degrading striving hard-working women and imposing an unsafe, male chauvinistic work environment.

Despite these dreadful experiences, Lawrence was highly convinced she would be offered the full-time position after being given respectable acclaim and recognition on her performance. However, she believes she didn’t get the offer because of her complaints of sexual harassment to Human Resources.

In the midst of her fellowship, ESPN sports anchor John Buccigross suggested to be her mentor but used their professional relationship to initiate sexual advances towards Lawrence. Though rejected, Buccigross took advantage of his position where she would appear disrespectful denying his advances and risk professional costs. Regardless of Lawrence standing her ground, Buccigross spread a rumor that she was sleeping with him to advance her career and not because of her performance as a legal analyst. ESPN believed Buccigross’s version of the conflict and therefore ignored her claims of sexual harassment. The aftermath of this resulted in her losing opportunities to cover legal sports news and reduced time on SportsCenter which led to ending her contract without renewal.

A female ESPN spokeswoman named Katina Arnold posted on company’s website screenshots of text messages between Lawrence and Buccigross showing that they had a consensual relationship which Lawrence denies.  Laurence claims the texts were forged and that ESPN used “bots and fake social media accounts to attack” Lawrence.

Since the lawsuit has been filed, ESPN states that they did look into Lawrence’s claims but found them “without merit” and that they told Lawrence her contract would end after the two-year fellowship and not be renewed.

ESPN also did not renew contracts to other numerous talents in the fellowship program. Adrienne Lawrence is suing the network for retaliation, sexual harassment, wrongful invasion of privacy, and inattentive supervision of their employees.

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