Fox 5 in D.C. host and former ESPN reporter Britt McHenry does not feel that the Washington Redskins cheerleaders should be treated as victims.
Some former Redskins cheerleaders are alleging in the New York Times that they were asked to pose topless and also required to date male corporate sponsors during a 2013 trip to Costa Rica. But the team’s director of choreography, who is the target of the allegations, denies that any women were made to do anything they did not want to do.
The unseemly affair is a devil in the details, but Britt McHenry thinks the entire subject is asinine.
Stephanie Jojokian, head of choreography for the Redskins, is saddened by the allegations.
“It breaks my heart because I’m a mom and I’ve done this for a long time. Where is this coming from? I would never put a woman in a situation like that. I actually mentor these women to be strong and to speak up, and it kills me to hear that,” Jojokian said.
“I was not forcing anyone to go at all. I’m the mama bear, and I really look out for everybody, not just the cheerleaders. It’s a big family. We respect each other and our craft. It’s such a supportive environment for these ladies,” Jojokian said.
The New York Times piece centers on a 2013 Costa Rica trip that reportedly made some of the cheerleaders feel uncomfortable. Here is the account of one of the women involved, from the Times: “For the photo shoot, at the adults-only Occidental Grand Papagayo resort on Culebra Bay, some of the cheerleaders said they were required to be topless, though the photographs used for the calendar would not show nudity. Others wore nothing but body paint. Given the resort’s secluded setting, such revealing poses would not have been a concern for the women — except that the Redskins had invited spectators.
A contingent of sponsors and FedExField suite holders — all men — were granted up-close access to the photo shoots.
One evening, at the end of a 14-hour day that included posing and dance practices, the squad’s director told nine of the 36 cheerleaders that their work was not done. They had a special assignment for the night. Some of the male sponsors had picked them to be personal escorts at a nightclub…”
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