According to the former cheerleading director for the then-Washington Redskins, owner Daniel Snyder once allegedly told him in 2004 that if he didn’t keep the cheerleaders “skinny with big t***,” then he would “f*****g kill’ him.”
That claim from former cheerleading director Donald Wells was made to attorney Lisa Banks, who along with fellow attorney Debra Katz is representing 12 former cheerleaders who are suing the owner and the team for salacious videos made of the cheerleaders showing their nipples and private parts. Attorney Gloria Allred said she represents 20 more ex-cheerleaders.
Wells, who led the cheerleading squad from 1997 to 2009, said, “I would never have told anyone about that if it weren’t for the revelation that the videos were created of my cheerleaders without their knowledge. I was embarrassed and scared if I said anything I might be fired,” The Washington Post reported.
The lewd videos in question were produced from outtakes of the cheerleaders’ 2008 and 2010 swimsuit calendar shoots. They featured rock music as the underscore, including hits by the Rolling Stones and U2. The Post pointed out that Snyder had said the two bands were his favorites in a 2011 interview.
“Then-senior vice president Larry Michael told broadcasting staffers to produce the videos, according to two ex-employees, one of whom said the footage was to be assembled for team owner Daniel Snyder. Snyder and Michael have denied any knowledge of the videos, copies of which were obtained by The Post,” The Washington Post noted.
The NFL met with Katz, then launched an investigation. This week, the Washington Football team agreed to permit an “independent forensic investigation” to obtain any of the copies of the videos. The team stated, “Like many companies and organizations, the Washington Football Team is examining its historical practices and behaviors. We take the criticisms of our cheerleading program seriously and we remain committed to reviewing all programs thoroughly.”
The Post noted, “The decisions to pose topless or in body paint were their own, former cheerleaders said,” but explained that the cheerleaders were required to sell at least 50 calendars, and the cheerleaders felt that the racier the shoot was with them in it, the more likely they could win a calendar “month” to propel them toward their individual sales targets.
An obstacle in the cheerleaders’ way in their lawsuit, according to the Post, is the fact that “the contracts covering the cheerleaders in the 2008 and 2010 videos give the team what appears to be unfettered permission to use the women’s names, voices and images ‘in connection with any and all publications, broadcasts, websites, web postings, promotional photographs, promotional posters, and any other commercial or noncommercial products, including but not limited to calendars, team photos, T-shirts, videos, Internet content, and team marketing and sponsorship activities and materials.’”
The Daily Wire reported in May 2018:
According to The New York Times, some Washington Redskins cheerleaders taken to Costa Rica in 2013 for a calendar photo shoot were required to go topless, and had no idea that male sponsors and FedExField suite holders were granted access to watch them pose nude from the waist up.
The Times writes that the cheerleaders first thought something might be awry when Redskins officials collected their passports upon arrival at the adults-only Occidental Grand Papagayo resort on Culebra Bay, which left them without official identification.
Some of the cheerleaders were topless; others wore nothing but body paint, according to the Times. None of the pictures were used in the calendar.
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