At ESPN, Women Face Endless Problems

A sexual harassment and retaliation complaint was filed this summer.

ESPN to Air More Than 500 Live Original Shows on Digital Platforms in 2020
A view of the logo during ESPN The Party on February 5, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Robin Marchant/Getty Images for ESPN)

ESPN canceled its show Barstool Sports after misogynistic and horrifying comments, like calling Rihanna fat and saying girls wearing skinny jeans deserve to be raped. The network tried to distance itself from the men’s blog. But this wasn’t the first time that women have been treated poorly at ESPN. This summer, a sexual harassment and retaliation complaint was filed with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. Barstool Sports just opened the opportunity for others to talk about the “locker room culture,” where men make unwanted sexual propositions to female colleagues, give nonconsensual shoulder rubs, rate women on their looks, and send shirtless selfies, according to the Boston Globe, who interviewed roughly two dozen current and former employees. Some employees said the environment can be so hostile that they would hide pregnancies or feel pressured to take short maternities leaves. Some women said they were given less desirable positions or let go before, during or after maternity leave. One anchor even did her scheduled broadcast while having a miscarriage because she was so worried about proving her commitment to the job.

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