Washington Redskins Cheerleaders Allegedly Forced To Pose Topless, Party With Male Sponsors
Five Washington Redskins cheerleaders claim that team officials made them to pose topless for a photo in front of male sponsors and FedEx Field suite holders during a trip to Costa Rica in 2013.
The unidentified cheerleaders told The New York Times that team officials took their passports upon arrival at the adults-only Occidental Grand Papagayo resort on Culebra Bay, depriving them of identification.
The cheerleaders said nine of the 36 cheerleaders were forced to escort the male sponsors to a nightclub for drinking and partying, after posing and dancing for 14 hours.
One cheerleader told the newspaper:
They weren’t putting a gun to our heads, but it was mandatory for us to go. We weren’t asked, we were told. Other girls were devastated because we knew exactly what she was doing.
The cheerleaders said they felt the arrangement amounted to the team officials “pimping us out.”
Another cheerleader said she doesn’t see things changing until a woman gets raped:
It’s just not right to send cheerleaders out with strange men when some of the girls clearly don’t want to g. But unfortunately, I feel like it won’t change until something terrible happens, like a girl is assaulted in some way, or raped. I think teams will start paying attention to this only when it’s too late.
Stephanie Jojokian, the longtime director and choreographer for the Redskins’ cheerleaders, denied the allegations:
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.
Redskins team officials did not deny the allegations in a statement:
The Redskins’ cheerleader program is one of the NFL’s premier teams in participation, professionalism, and community service. Each Redskin cheerleader is contractually protected to ensure a safe and constructive environment.
The work our cheerleaders do in our community, visiting our troops abroad, and supporting our team on the field is something the Redskins organization and our fans take great pride in.