WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Some Washington Redskins cheerleaders have claimed of being forced to escort men in a nightclub, and pose topless in front of male sponsors and suite holders during a 2013 calendar photo shoot in Costa Rica.
- Former team captain Charo Bishop, however, who was on the same trip, is disputing the other cheerleaders’ account of what happened.
- Last Friday, Bishop told Today that the allegations of members being forced to pose topless in the calendar shoot, as detailed in The New York Times, were “just simply not true.”
Former Redskins Cheerleaders recounted what happened during the 2013 calendar photo shoot which allegedly turned into a form of sexual harassment.
“All optional. Voluntarily,” said Charo Bishop. “Some girls were excited to do those things. In terms of being an escort, that was never a perception I had. I think that being friendly and receptive and welcoming to sponsors is completely different than being an escort.”
In the Times story, unnamed cheerleaders claimed they felt pressured when the squad’s director said nine of the 36 cheerleaders were chosen “to be personal escorts at a nightclub” by some of the male sponsors. One even said, “We weren’t asked, we were told.”
The said arrangement made the cheerleaders feel like the team was “pimping us out,” even though there was no sex involved.
It was also reported by the Washington Post that the promise of a trip with the cheerleaders was used as an incentive to sell luxury suites and seats.
Bishop told Today that while “we can’t discount experiences that other woman had on the team, for me, it was a relaxing night with my friends… We were always with someone we knew. We were always together.” She also noted that she never feared for her safety and she did not feel uncomfortable.
She said that the sponsors did not choose them but it was Stephanie Jojokian, longtime choreographer and director of the Redskins’ cheerleaders, who suggested the evening as a chance to “go out and enjoy a night (out) with our friends.”
Another former Redskins cheerleading captain Rachel Gill, who was not on the Costa Rica trip, added that the cheerleaders were not forced to socialize with men.
She stated, “Those terms ‘pimped out,’ ‘escort,’ they just need to stop because it’s absolutely not what happened.”
According to Today.com, Bishop and Gill were asked by the Redskins to speak on the morning show on the team’s behalf.
Redskins President Bruce Allen stated that the team had already spoken to “a number of” Redskins cheerleaders who contradicted the Times story and is also “looking into” the allegations.
The team issued a statement saying, “The Redskins organization is very concerned by the allegations involving our cheerleaders in the recent New York Times article… If it is revealed that any of our employees acted inappropriately, those employees will face significant repercussions.”