Former sports host Jenn Sterger is calling out ESPN for hypocrisy, claiming she was subject to sexist behavior by ESPN employees multiple times while interviewing for jobs with the company.
Sterger made the allegations on the same day ESPN cancelled a show collaboration with Barstool Sports after only one episode, citing an inability to “distance our efforts” from Barstool’s provocative and sometimes offensive content.
“Since we are being honest, I will say this: I HATE how Barstool Sports treats women. But the other side is JUST as bad,” Sterger tweeted Monday night.
Here are some of the allegations Sterger makes against unnamed ESPN employees:
“I was brought in to ESPN numerous times for meetings, and even tested for several shows. On one such occasion I was 23 years old and had been brought to Charlotte to test. I was told by a coworker that ‘everyone was going to a club' and asked if I wanted to join. Then realized upon arrival it was not a club like I was used to but instead, a strip club. … I had to watch as my male coworkers got lap dances from girls while they teased me about how I was uncomfortable and didn’t want to participate.
“The following day I was confronted by two of my bosses about whether or not I had been in attendance the previous night. I told them I had been, but didn’t want to be there once I realized what it was. They admonished me and said it was a bad look for the company for me to be there and to never do it again. I was fired before my plane landed in Tampa.”
She also wrote about another incident that allegedly occurred a few years later, involving the same ESPN employee, who she called a "decision maker" at the company:
“In 2008 I was brought up to Bristol by the same individual to interview for a job opening they might have. … They had me come in, and paraded me around the place. Then took me into the office for some weird line of questioning. Asking me if I had hooked up with ‘so and so’ etc. or ‘this person’ or ‘that person’…this was my ‘job interview.’
“[The ESPN employee] brought up numerous girls he said he was hooking up with that worked there at the time. And implied that he was helping their careers.
“I cried the whole way home. He still works there. He’s still gainfully employed. He’s a decision maker there.”
Why Sterger came forward
Sterger criticized some women at ESPN who were vocal against Barstool Sports, but who failed to defend her years ago when she was making claims of inappropriate behavior by ESPN employees.
“Some of the women that have spoken out against Barstool there are now some of the biggest and loudest champions of this movement of honesty and Women standing up for ourselves,” Sterger wrote. “But need I remind some of them, that when the time came to defend me a few years ago, they were the first ones to say ‘I asked for it,’ ‘look how she dresses,’ and ‘she probably just wants money.’
“Support other women all the time. Not just when it fits your f***ing agenda.”
Sterger's comments may be in response to the reactions of ESPN employees such as Sam Ponder, who attacked Barstool Sports for offensive and sexist remarks from the past.
ESPN responded to the allegations Tuesday:
“We have no record of this ever being brought to our attention. We thoroughly investigate all allegations brought to us. Fostering a professional and respectful workplace is a top priority for ESPN and we always encourage people to report any issues.”