ESPN is one of the most coveted places for sports journalists, and its sheer size gives more opportunities to women than many other outlets. But Sarah Spain, a radio host and a columnist for espnW who works out of Chicago, said she has not personally experienced sexual harassment by colleagues at ESPN. Lindsay Czarniak — one of the few female solo SportsCenter anchors in — said she chose to walk away after the company offered her a different job at a significant pay cut when she returned from maternity leave this year. Anchor Jade McCarthy said she lost on-air opportunities after getting pregnant. Sterger said she initially did not realize where they were going and she was teased about being uncomfortable once there.
Instead, she went to the studio and anchored the show. And Spain said she felt comfortable sharing concerns with her bosses at espnW — a brand marketed to women — about a male anchor who was cracking jokes at the expense of female athletes. The strip club outing was not a formal ESPN activity, but it followed a dinner with company employees and involved several male job candidates. The Barstool partnership also drew fire from Jenn Sterger, a writer and actress, who felt she had been sexually harassed at ESPN when she tried out for an on-air position in Advertisement ESPN has tried to jettison its frat-boy reputation with new training and policies, including requiring employees to disclose personal relationships with each other to the company. Some were reluctant to identify the alleged harassers because they worried it would out their own identities and subject them to retaliation. ESPN said the company has had several rounds of layoffs, including more than this year, and blamed changes in strategy — not hostility toward women — for job losses. Buccigross, roughly two decades older than Lawrence, acknowledged sending the photos but denied starting any rumors that the two were in a relationship. Walsh was so worried about her job that she decided not to call in sick when she started bleeding from a miscarriage during a work trip to Alabama. But days before she planned to return from maternity leave this past April, ESPN notified her that she was part of the layoffs. Lawrence said ESPN retaliated against her by reducing her on-air shifts and ultimately denying her a permanent position. The case was later settled. ESPN is one of the most coveted places for sports journalists, and its sheer size gives more opportunities to women than many other outlets. Former employees said that Walsh was upset that McQuade did not respond to an e-mail she wrote from the hospital about the miscarriage, and she was soon sent back to the same Alabama set where she had miscarried. But others are speaking openly. But Sarah Spain, a radio host and a columnist for espnW who works out of Chicago, said she has not personally experienced sexual harassment by colleagues at ESPN. McCarthy said she was moved off weekend SportsCenter shows when she returned from her first pregnancy at ESPN and was laid off this past April when she was nearly eight months pregnant. During her months-long audition, Sterger said an executive showed her a copy of a Playboy magazine that she had modeled for and then she was taken to a strip club by Matthew Berry, who was interviewing as a contributor for The Fantasy Show. The Globe interviewed three former employees whom Lawrence had confided in at the time about her treatment and confirmed her account. She is one of several who said they were given less desirable positions or laid off before, during, or after maternity leave. Anchor Jade McCarthy said she lost on-air opportunities after getting pregnant. Buccigross said they texted frequently over a couple of months and talked about personal issues as well as advice on improving her on-air delivery. Ponder and other employees denounced the partnership on social media, and the show was canceled after one episode. ESPN said it would not comment on employees who were laid off or had their contract offers reduced or contracts not renewed. In , an employee sued ESPN, claiming she was terminated because she was pregnant. But some current and former employees say the problems for women run deep. ESPN says there are postings throughout the building advising employees of their rights and of the means for reporting complaints.
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