The New York Mets have fired general manager Jared Porter for sending sexually-explicit text messages to a female reporter in 2016. The move comes after ESPN reportedly obtained a copy of the text history that the sports network says began with “friendly banter” but culminated “with a picture of an erect, naked penis.”
“We have terminated Jared Porter this morning,” tweeted Mets owner Steven Cohen on Tuesday. “In my initial press conference I spoke about the importance of integrity and I meant it. There should be zero tolerance for this type of behavior.”
We have terminated General Manager Jared Porter, effective immediately. pic.twitter.com/eD0ifVJ0eH
— New York Mets (@Mets) January 19, 2021
On Monday, ESPN reported “the text relationship started casually before Porter, then the Chicago Cubs director of professional scouting, began complimenting her appearance, inviting her to meet him in various cities and asking why she was ignoring him.” According to the outlet, “the texts show she had stopped responding to Porter after he sent a photo of pants featuring a bulge in the groin area.” The report said the records indicate Porter went on to send 62 unanswered texts, including one with an image of “a bare penis.”
New York Mets general manager Jared Porter sent explicit photos, including a naked picture of a penis, to a foreign female reporter in 2016 after she had ignored dozens of other messages from him for weeks.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 19, 2021
The ESPN report said, “the messages provide a portrait of an executive on the move” and “a reporter working with a limited grasp of the English language and American customs.”
ESPN did not identify the reporter, only describing her as “a foreign correspondent who had moved to the United States to cover Major League Baseball.” When reached for comment by ESPN, Porter acknowledged texting the woman. He claimed “the more explicit” pictures were not of him, but “kinda like joke-stock images.”
ESPN provides more details on Porter’s text conversations with the unnamed woman:
On July 19, 2016, he reached out to her again, inquiring as to her whereabouts and asking: “Why aren’t we hanging out??” Porter asked whether the woman remembered what he looked like and said: “You’re so pretty. Do you have a boyfriend yet?” He sent a selfie and said: “It can be me!”
The woman responded with text shorthand indicating laughter and added: “let’s meet.” Porter asked her for a picture. In her home country, the woman told ESPN, “It’s very common for friends of the opposite sex to send each other photos. I didn’t think much of it.”
After she sent a selfie, Porter responded: “You’re gorgeous. Want more of me?”
She said yes, explaining to ESPN: “I thought it would be awkward to say no. I didn’t think of where it would progress.”
Porter sent three pictures, including the first of several that would show a man lying on a bed with a bulge in his pants. The woman said she initially was confused.
“Like?” Porter wrote.
She laughed again and texted yes, though she told ESPN that she didn’t realize the intention of the photo taken on the bed.
The more I think about the Jared Porter report, the worse it is. There's the harassment and the escalation, but there's also the targeting of a female reporter with few resources and protections, and who didn't speak the language well. This person was specifically vulnerable.
— Laura Albanese (@AlbaneseLaura) January 19, 2021
According to ESPN, the outlet first obtained the messages in 2017 “after being alerted to their existence by a baseball source.” ESPN said it did not report the information because the reporter “concluded her career would be harmed if the story emerged.”
She has since left the journalism profession and recently spoke to ESPN through an interpreter on the condition of anonymity.
“My number one motivation is I want to prevent this from happening to someone else,” she told ESPN. “Obviously, he’s in a much greater position of power. I want to prevent that from happening again. The other thing is, I never really got the notion that he was truly sorry.”
“I know in the U.S., there is a women’s empowerment movement. But in [my home country], it’s still far behind,” the woman said. “Women get dragged through the mud if your name is associated with any type of sexual scandal. Women are the ones who get fingers pointed at them. I don’t want to go through the victimization process again. I don’t want other people to blame me.”
Major League Baseball is launching an investigation into fired Mets general manager Jared Porter, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Based on the results, Porter could face suspension, which would prevent him from holding another MLB job without reinstatement.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) January 19, 2021
According to a reporter with MLB.com, Major League Baseball is launching an investigation into Porter, adding he “could face suspension, which would prevent him from holding another MLB job without reinstatement.”
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