Fifteen women have come forward with claims that they were sexually harassed during their time working for the NFL team then known as the Washington Redskins. Only one of the women, Emily Applegate, was willing to speak on the record to the Washington Post about how she was treated when she worked in the marketing department in 2014 and 2015. The other women asked to remain anonymous.
Applegate described a toxic culture in which female employees were subjected to unwanted sexual advances and comments, told to wear revealing clothing, and asked to flirt with wealthy clients. They were warned that if they complained, they would lose their jobs.
"It was the most miserable experience of my life," Applegate told the newspaper. "And we all tolerated it because we knew if we complained — and they reminded us of this — there were 1,000 people out there who would take our job in a heartbeat."
The allegations date back as far as 2006.
The team's former Director of Pro Personnel, Alex Santos, and former Assistant Director of Pro Personnel, Richard Mann II, were both named in the report and left the organization earlier in the week. Larry Michael, who spent years as the team's play-by-play announcer and served as the team's senior vice president, was also accused of sexual misconduct and abruptly announced his retirement before the story broke.
The women also accused the former President of Business Operations, Dennis Greene,and former Chief Operating Officer, Mitch Gershman, of sexually harassing women during their tenure with the franchise.
None of the women made allegations against the team's majority owner, Dan Snyder, but blamed him for allowing the toxic culture to flourish.
The team issued a statement saying they are taking the allegations seriously and hired attorney Beth Wilkinson "to conduct a thorough independent review of this entire matter and help the team set new employee standards for the future."
"The Washington Redskins football team takes issues of employee conduct seriously… While we do not speak to specific employee situations publicly, when new allegations of conduct are brought forward that are contrary to these policies, we address them promptly," the team said.
The NFL said it will follow the investigation closely and will meet with the team to discuss any discipline once Wilkinson's review is complete.
"These matters as reported are serious, disturbing and contrary to the NFL's values," said the NFL in a statement. "Everyone in the NFL has the right to work in an environment free from any and all forms of harassment."
The team recently announced they are retiring the Redskins name and are now in the process of finding a new one.