Former ESPN analyst, Adrienne Lawrence filed a sexual harassment lawsuit, stating she was fired after she complained about the behavior of men which contributed to a hostile environment at ESPN.
The lawsuit, which was filed over the weekend, includes a claim that was reported in December, stating SportsCenter anchor John Buccigross made repeated sexual advances toward Lawrence, such as texting her a shirtless photo of him. The suit also included a section which depicted alleged disparaging behavior from long-time ESPN personality Chris Berman, stating the following:
In early 2016, ESPN’s The Undefeated personality Jemele Hill received a threatening and racially disparaging voicemail from [Chris] Berman on her ESPN phone line. After Hill notified executive Marcia Keegan (who oversaw Hill’s show His & Hers at the time and had been a senior director in HR) about the matter and forwarded the voicemail to her, nothing was done. Despite his continued and repeated misconduct toward women, Berman remains a celebrated and welcome ESPN employee.
Jemele Hill took to Twitter yesterday, in which she admitted she did have a “personal conflict” with Berman, but she refuted Lawrence’s claim about receiving a “racially disparaging voicemail.” Hill also noted she was not pressed by ESPN to release the below statement.
Shortly after Hill took to Twitter to counter Lawrence’s claim, ESPN released the following statement regarding the lawsuit.
“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.”