The Washington Redskins NFL team has come under fire after former cheerleaders described a trip in which they felt “pimped out” by team management to big-spending donors.
Five former cheerleaders for the Washington, DC team have claimed they were repeatedly made to feel uncomfortable during a week-long calendar shoot in Costa Rica in 2013 – for which they were paid nothing except travel and food reimbursements.
Secluded at an adults-only resort in Culebra Bay, the cheerleaders said they were forced to pose topless during the calendar shoot while team sponsors – all male – looked on. Later, some of them said they were informed they had been “chosen” to escort the men to a nightclub.
“They weren’t putting a gun to our heads, but it was mandatory for us to go,” one of the cheerleaders told the New York Times, adding that some of the women were “devastated” by the news.
Redskins officials on the trip, like Lon Rosenberg, the senior vice president for operations, and Dennis Greene, the president for business operations, appeared to “condone all of this,” one cheerleader said.
Redskins president Bruce Allen said in a statement that the team was looking into the situation, and treating the allegations seriously.
“Based on the dialogue we’ve had with a number of current and former cheerleaders over the past 48 hours, we’ve heard very different first-hand accounts that directly contradict many of the details of the May 2 article,” Mr Allen said. “I can promise that once we have completed looking into this matter, if it is revealed that any of our employees acted inappropriately, those employees will face significant repercussions.”