News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Mar. 7, 2018: A former ESPN host and legal analyst is suing the Disney-owned company for sexual harassment, accusing her co-workers of among other things, wondering aloud what Bajan star Rihanna must “taste like.”
According to a lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court of Connecticut on March 4th and obtained by TheWrap, Adrienne Lawrence claims the Worldwide Leader in Sports is “a company rife with misogyny” where “women are humiliated, degraded, and forced to navigate a misogynistic and predatory culture.” Lawrence was a sports and entertainment host, reporter and legal analyst on the network.
“At ESPN, male executives and talent keep ‘scorecards’ naming female colleagues they are targeting for sex,” the lawsuit states. “Men openly watch porn on their computers without a care and make repulsive comments about women in front of women, like when they discuss the women in the office ‘they want to f—‘ or when SportsCenter producer Adam Strain and Ms. Lawrence’s co- fellow, Treavor Scales, openly wondered, in Ms. Lawrence’s presence, what pop star Rihanna must ‘taste like,’ concluding that she ‘must taste good,’ and then howling with excitement while Ms. Lawrence sat in disgust before being forced to leave the room.”
Scales, who like Lawrence is black, began as a crewing coordinator at ESPN responsible for staffing college football, volleyball, NASCAR and other sporting events, before making it into the co-host post. He is a former student at Harvard University.
Strain is white and produces a daily SportsCenter for 19 countries in Africa according to his Linked In profile.
The lawsuit also contends that anchor Jonathan Coachman, (now with WWE), was a serial sexual harasser; TV and radio host Bomani Jones made Lawrence feel uncomfortable by looking her up and down; host Chris Cotter attempted to kiss her against her will; and several other producers and executives hit on her under the guise of mentorship.
ESPN issued a statement Monday saying: “We conducted a thorough investigation of the claims Adrienne Lawrence surfaced to ESPN and they are entirely without merit. Ms. Lawrence was hired into a two-year talent development program and was told that her contract would not be renewed at the conclusion of the training program. At that same time, ESPN also told 100 other talent with substantially more experience, that their contracts would not be renewed. The company will vigorously defend its position and we are confident we will prevail in court.”