What Are the Accusations Being Made Against the Washington Football Team?

High-level executives for the Washington Football Team used outtakes from video shoots of team cheerleaders to create highlight reels of their incidental nudity—the latest in a wave of sexual harassment allegations leveled against the inner circle of employees surrounding team owner Daniel Synder.

According to the Washington Post, a ten-minute video was created using outtakes from the team's 2008 cheerleader swimsuit calendar shoot, which was officially documented in a video released as "Beauties on the Beach." This second video, kept secret from the participating cheerleaders, collected moments when nipples were exposed during the photo shoots, which often involved tight framing or props strategically covering the cheerleaders' bare breasts.

Former senior vice president and lead broadcaster Larry Michaels—who left the team in July—is alleged to have commissioned the video for team owner Daniel Snyder, requesting that it collect all of "the good bits" from the video shoot.

"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," Brad Baker, formerly a producer in the team's broadcast department, told the Washington Post.

"Nothing can be further from the truth. I was never asked to nor did I ask someone to compile videos as you described," Michael told the Post, responding to the allegations made by Baker.

The Post obtained both the 2008 video and a similar video aggregating nudity outtakes from a 2010 swimsuit calendar shoot in the Dominican Republic. A second former broadcasting producer, granted anonymity by the Post, described Michael ordering a DVD of the 2010 video, which was titled "For Executive Meeting." According to Baker, Michael first excused two female colleagues before making the request.

Both the 2008 and 2010 videos included classic rock soundtracks, featuring "Sweet Emotion" by Aerosmith, "Jumpin' Jack Flash" by The Rolling Stones and and "Mysterious Ways" by U2.

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Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder on the field at a 2019 game. Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

The existence of the videos follow from Washington Post reporting in July that described widespread sexual harassment from team executives, alleged by 42 women and supported by interviews with "more than 100" current and former employees of the Washington Football Team.

Employees described discrimination, exploitation and bullying from management—part of a years-long pattern of abuse that included an allegation made directly against Snyder, the team's owner.

According to former cheerleader Tiffany Bacon Scourby, whose account was corroborated by three friends who also spoke with the Post, including the team's former cheerleader director, Snyder pressured Scourby to go to his friend's hotel room during a 2004 boxing-themed charity event so they "could get to know each other better."

Additional allegations include male executives and players "commenting on their bodies and clothing, incorporating sexual innuendos into workplace conversation and making unwanted advances in person or via emails, text messages and social media."

Multiple women specifically named Michael among other executives who were fired or left the team's employ in recent years, including former pro personnel director Alex Santos, president of business operations Dennis Greene (who was alleged to have sold access to cheerleaders and left the team in 2018) and the team's former COO, Mitch Gershman.

Seemingly in response to sexual harassment complaints, the team adopted a policy that curtailed women employees, instead of addressing the abusive culture. In 2017, a "conduct policy" was implemented that limited where women employees could go in the building, so they would have less contact with players.

"A workplace culture this toxic and pervasive, at the highest levels of the organization, simply cannot exist without the knowledge and encouragement of the owner," Lisa J. Banks, a lawyer representing 12 former employees, told the Washington Post.

"I'm horrified. I'm nauseous," Scourby told the Washington Post. "The video was a huge violation of my sisters and I."

Newsweek reached out to the Washington Football Team and Larry Michael for comment, but did not hear back from either party by time of publication.

What Are the Accusations Being Made Against the Washington Football Team? | Culture