Breaking Down Adrienne Lawrence’s Lawsuit Against ESPN and the Company’s Possible Defenses

Last December, wrote about the potential legal consequences of allegations contained in an investigative report by The Boston Globe’s Jenn Abelson on sexual misconduct at ESPN.

On Monday, one major consequence materialized: Former ESPN employee Adrienne Lawrence filed a sex discrimination lawsuit against ESPN in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. In this federal complaint, Lawrence’s attorneys, Brian Cohen and Russell Yankwitt, depict ESPN as a “company rife with misogyny.”

Detailing the allegedly hostile work environment experienced by female ESPN employees

The allegations contained in Lawrence’s complaint are far-reaching and highly disturbing. The complaint raises the following accusations against ESPN’s male executives, producers and on-air talent:

  • They keep “scorecards” which list and rank female ESPN colleagues based on sexual attraction;
  • They frequently watch porn in the presence of female colleagues;
  • They openly describe female celebrities with whom they would like to have sex, and then wonder what those celebrities “taste like” during sex;
  • As a matter of workplace environment, they expect their female colleagues “to tolerate the predatory culture without protest” and to “go along to get along;”
  • They discourage female colleagues from sharing any of their complaints and advise them to be thick-skinned about their ESPN experience;
  • They engage in “grooming” to coerce female colleagues into sexual relationships. The complaint describes grooming as “a manipulative tactic that typically involves targeting a vulnerable

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