More mistreatment claims hit the Washington Football Team as former cheerleaders are speaking out about sexual harassment and mistreatment. It’s alleged two vulgar videos of former cheerleaders were made at the request of owner Daniel Synder– without the ladies’ consent. Find out their reactions, plus Synder’s disgusting threat to the former cheerleading director inside…
The Washington Football Team has been hit with more sexual harassment and misconduct claims, several months after a bombshell report exposed the organization’s alleged toxic work environment. The exposé put the team’s owner Daniel Snyder, coaches, front office staff and execs on full blast with accusations of sexual assault and sex trafficking allegations.
Last month, it was announced the NFL had taken over the independent investigation into workplace conduct within the Washington Football Team (formerly The Redskins). With new reports coming out, it seems the NFL will have their hands full.
In August, it was revealed that the Washington Football Team produced vulgar videos (which included partial nudity) from outtakes of the cheerleaders’ 2008 and 2010 swimsuit calendar shoots. Calendar shoots that are mandatory for them to do, yet they often do not get paid specifically for them. Brad Baker – former member who worked for the team’s former lead broadcaster/senior vice president Larry Michael – said he was present in a meeting when Larry Michael allegedly told staffers to make the video for team owner, Daniel Snyder (above).
”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 on a DVD for him,” Baker, who was a producer on the team’s broadcast department from 2007 to 2009, told the Washington Post.
Synder denies having “any knowledge of the ten-year old videos referenced in the story. I did not request their creation and I never saw them.” Larry Michael - who abruptly retired in July when the toxic workplace allegations came out - also denied the allegation.
However, the videos were made. And someone was instructed to make them.
Now, former cheerleaders (who are usually classically trained dancers, experts and respected professionals in the field of dance, it's important to note) who appear in the videos are speaking out. They're worried these videos will surface online. These videos were made over a decade ago, so the women featured in the clips have moved on with their lives – most of them in their 30s & 40s with careers and families.
”I would have hoped the team, because they held us to these high standards, would treat us with respect and uphold the same standards. Instead they violated our trust with what sounds like a soft porn video,” said Chastity Evans – who appeared in the 2008 video.
“I didn’t see it when I was younger, because I loved what I did,” said Evans, now 40, who cheered for five seasons. “I don’t think they viewed us as people. They viewed us as replaceable objects.”
Here’s a description of the videos:
The videos include clips during which some of the cheerleaders’ nipples are exposed as they shift positions or adjust props shielding their breasts. Two of the women’s pubic areas are obscured only partly by body paint. The videos are set to the same three classic rock hits, including one each by the Rolling Stones and U2, bands Snyder said were his favorites in a 2011 interview.
For years, the Washington Football Team offered luxury trips to the Dominican Republic for fans to watch the closed calendar photoshoot. Men would gather around the shoot while the cheerleaders – who were mostly topless - posed it up for the calendar.
“We were viewed as a commodity to sell and make money by any means necessary,” said Michelle Moseley, 38, who cheered for seven years and appears in the 2008 video.
The Washington Football Team had very strict rules for the cheerleaders and if they broke the rules, they would be dismissed. “Inappropriate conduct” or online content – including nude or semi-nude appearances in “tasteless” films, videos or photographs were grounds for dismissal. They also could “not date, socialize, fraternize or flirt” with football players. It was so bad that cheerleaders would leave a restaurant or bar if one of the players came in. (If you watch "Making The Team: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders", you've seen this happen in real time.)
However, players were never given these same guidelines.
“No one said anything to the players about who you do or don’t talk to,” said former tight end Chris Cooley. “I didn’t feel like, in any way, that it was misconduct on my part.”
When cheerleading rehearsals were scheduled at the team’s facility in Ashburn, cheerleaders had to wait for a long as an hour while players showered and left the building. They had to wait in their cars until every player had driven away after practice.
“If men can’t control themselves, if they look at you or anything happens, it’s your fault,” “Let’s not explain to the men in the organization that they need to treat women with respect. Let’s just hide you.”
Donald Wells– cheer director from 1997 to 2009 – revealed a disgusting threat owner Daniel Snyder made to him.
”You better keep them skinny with big tits or I’ll f*cking kill you,” Wells said Snyder told him at a 2004 charity event where the cheerleaders performed.
”I would have never told anyone about that if it weren’t for the revelation that the videos were created of my cheerleaders without their knowledge,” Wells said. “I was embarrassed and scared if I said anything I might be fired.”
Wells said he regrets that he didn’t do more to protect the women.
Snyder – the team’s majority owner – declined an interview with the Washington Post about the allegations.
Head coach Ron Rivera - who is in his first year with the organization and was not present at the time the alleged mistreatment - responded to the latest allegations made against the organization.
“I know it’s the same subject, and we take those allegations very seriously," Rivera told reporters. "Obviously, we’ve been looking into this. We’re trying to get these things corrected. As far as I know, it’s just something that’s come up again that we’re addressing."
The former cheerleaders now fear the organization will dismantle the cheerleading program, which they don't want to happen. The Buffalo Bills got rid of their cheerleading program in 2014 after members on the squad sued the organization for being underpaid and mistreated on the job. The former Washington cheerleaders don't want that to happen (because they love the sisterhood), but they want things to be changed within the organization.
At least 30 former cheerleaders have lawyered up. High-powered attorney Gloria Allred has taken on several Washington Football cheerleaders as clients.
Should it be TIME'S UP for the mistreatment of NFL cheerleaders?
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Photos: AP Photo/Alex Brandon