Former employees of the Washington Football Team intend to the sue the organization over its “creation and likely dissemination” of secret videos that showed cheerleaders posing for their annual swimsuit calendar shoot, The Washington Post’s Beth Reinhard reported Friday.
Attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz asked owner Dan Snyder to preserve any evidence of the videos' creation or distribution, as well as all records relating to sexual harassment complaints. Citing “civil rights violations under Virginia law,” the attorneys informed Snyder that they plan to sue.
“All of my clients to a person are looking for accountability and change,” Banks said this week to ESPN's Jeremy Schaap in a segment of Outside the Lines that airs in full Sunday. “This has been going on in this organization for two decades now, this toxic environment. And what they are seeking right now is accountability and change.”
The news comes on the heels of a Post report that detailed how two separate videos that showed exposed cheerleaders during their calendar shoots were filmed, edited and distributed. The story cited a source that claimed the videos were made for Snyder, among other claims of sexual harassment and unfair treatment against both the owner and other male employees.
It’s been a tumultuous offseason for Washington. After finishing last season 3-13, the team was pressured by sponsors to drop the name “Redskins” in July before another Post report dropped detailing allegations of sexual harassment from 15 women against several employees including play-by-play man Larry Michael and Director of Pro Personnel Alex Santos. Michael retired before the report surfaced and Santos was fired.
“It certainly is not about making a hire or changing a policy,” Banks said. “The tone, the culture comes from the top. And here I don’t see us having meaningful change without a change in ownership.”
The NFL took over the investigation into the reported incidents Tuesday, requiring attorney Beth Wilkinson — who was originally hired by Washington — to report directly to the league.