For several years there have been published reports about cheerleaders for the Washington Football Team and how they were taken advantage of by staff within the organization during various photo shoots on out-of-country trips. In August, a bombshell report in the Washington Post provided details about multiple transgressions from the past. Now, there’s new information out that includes explicit details of what team owner Daniel Snyder wanted from the Washington cheerleaders.
Washington Cheerleaders incident reported in 2018
The New York Times published a story in 2018 about the Washington cheerleaders and a Costa Rica trip for the team’s annual calendar photoshoot back in 2013. The trip took a strange turn right at the beginning when team officials inexplicably gathered the women’s passports. It only got worse from there.
When the photoshoot started, some cheerleaders were required to go topless, despite no nude photographs in the calendar. Although it was all done at a private secluded resort, there was an unexpected audience of onlookers, which included team sponsors and suite holders — all male.
On one evening, according to the report, the cheerleading squad director told a select group of Washington cheerleaders they would perform “extra duty,” which meant serving as escorts at a nightclub with some of the team sponsors. There was no sex involved, but the cheerleaders involved said the arrangement felt as if they were “pimping us out.”
Story exposes multiple incidents with cheerleaders
In August, the Washington Post reported on separate Washington cheerleaders photoshoot incidents that happened in 2008 and 2010. During the 2008 shoot, the cheerleaders posed for photos, and it was chronicled in the “Beauties on the Beach” video. The cheerleaders were never told there was a second video created that featured outtakes with partial nudity and was intended for private use.
Larry Michael, the team’s former lead broadcaster and a senior vice president, referred to the shots featuring private parts as “the good bits” or “the good parts,” according to Brad Baker, a former member of Michael’s staff. Baker told the Post he was present when Michael told staffers to make the video for team owner Daniel Snyder.
Snyder responded after the story came out. “I do not have any knowledge of the ten-year old videos referenced in the story. I did not request their creation and I never saw them.”
Michael also denied any knowledge of the Washington cheerleaders second video.
Washington cheerleaders speak out
In a new Washington Post story, numerous Washington cheerleaders spoke out about what had been reported in recent months.
“I’m going to have two grown sons at some point, and what are they going to find on the Internet — some mom porn?” asked 37-year-old Lee-Ann Campbell.
Ashley A. Taylor was still in her teens when she posed for the 2010 photoshoot. She was excited to take her first trip overseas to the Dominican Republic then, but now realizing what happened, she’s hurt by what the organization did.
“I invested 15 total seasons … half of my life,” she wrote recently on Instagram. “I grew up in this organization and trusted them, my family trusted them, but now I feel violated.”
Donald Wells served as director of the squad from 1997 to 2009. Like the cheerleaders, he’s had time to reflect back on his experiences and said he regrets he couldn’t have done more to protect the women. He also recalled an alarming remark made to him by Snyder.
“You better keep them skinny with big t-ts or I’ll f—ing kill you,” Wells said Snyder told him during a 2004 charity event where the squad performed.
If true, Snyder’s comments about the Washington cheerleaders follow a pattern of disrespectful behavior toward the women that ran rampant throughout the organization for years. Not surprisingly, those women are upset and many of them have hired lawyers. And if there’s one thing that will get Daniel Snyder’s attention, it’s losing money. He could stand to lose a lot of it in the near future.