Women who formerly worked for the Washington Commanders revealed new details of sexual harassment to a congressional committee Thursday, including a claim made by a former cheerleader against team owner Dan Snyder.
Six of the team’s former employees, including five women, spoke during a roundtable before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, a day after the team rolled out its new name, the Washington Commanders.
“With due respect, it’s going to take more than a name change to fix that broken culture,” said Rep. Carol Maloney, D-NY, the committee’s chair.
Maloney has been trying to get the NFL to release a report related to sexual harassment and workplace misconduct involving the football team.
Several witnesses suggested Snyder should be held responsible for what they considered to be a hostile workplace culture.
Tiffani Johnston, a former cheerleader who later worked as a marketing manager, made a new allegation against Snyder before the House panel.
She said that during a team dinner, Snyder put his hand on her thigh and later tried to push her toward his limousine.
“The only reason Dan Snyder removed his hand from my back and stopped pushing me towards his limo was because his attorney intervened, and said, ‘Dan, Dan, this is a bad idea,'” she said.
Johnston did not say when the incident she described took place.
“The NFL is reviewing and will consider Ms. Johnston’s allegations as we would any other new allegations regarding workplace misconduct at the Washington Commanders. We will determine any further action as appropriate,” an NFL spokesman said in a statement.
Another former cheerleader and marketing manager, Melanie Coburn, provided new information related to another event allegedly involving Snyder.
Coburn said it occurred during a trip to Snyder’s home in Aspen, Colorado, that included a dinner out with heavy drinking. She said after returning to Snyder’s home, she was told to go to her room there.
She said she later learned from someone else that it was because men had invited prostitutes to the house.
Coburn described the work atmosphere as a “frat party run by a billionaire who knew no boundaries.”
“Under Dan Snyder’s leadership, women were used as sex objects and tools to increase sales, rather than dignified human beings,” she said.
Coburn and others recounted previously reported details of a sexually suggestive video that was made of cheerleaders without their knowledge.
The women also said they constantly dealt with sexual comments from male executives and were told to dress suggestively to please men purchasing expensive suites at FedEx Field.
“Today’s testimony underscores that all employees deserve a workplace that is free from harassment of any kind and where they feel safe reporting misconduct,” the NFL said. “We are grateful to the witnesses who again demonstrated courage by sharing their painful experiences.”
Snyder issued a statement Thursday that rejected specific claims against him as “outright lies.”
He apologized generally for conduct involving the team and said he fully supports “people who have been victimized and have come forward to tell their stories.”
Snyder was fined $10 million by the NFL following the review, which was done by independent counsel Beth Wilkinson. Her investigation after allegations of harassment were reported by The Washington Post in the summer of 2020.
Maloney and some other Democratic lawmakers have been critical of the NFL for not making the full report public.
The roundtable held Thursday was part of an effort to step up public pressure on the league.
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