Report: Redskins cheerleaders say they were forced to pose topless, served as escorts
WASHINGTON (Circa) -- Washington Redskins cheerleaders were told it was mandatory for them to pose topless during a 2013 photo shoot in Costa Rica, according to an expose from The New York Times.
The cheerleaders, some of whom wore nothing but body paint, posed naked in front of suite holders at FedExField and sponsors who were in attendance.
On a separate occasion, nine of the 36 cheerleaders were forced to serve as personal escorts throughout the evening at a nightclub for sponsors. Sex was not involved with this arrangement but they told The New York Times they felt as though the team was "pimping us out."
“They weren’t putting a gun to our heads, but it was mandatory for us to go,” one of the cheerleaders told the publication. “We weren’t asked, we were told. Other girls were devastated because we knew exactly what she was doing.”
It was also revealed in the story that the Redskins did not pay the cheerleaders anything besides transportation costs, meals and lodging. In 2011, the Redskins told WJLA they couldn't comment on whether cheerleaders would be compensated for "highly revealing modeling work" during photo shoots outside of the country.
“It’s just not right to send cheerleaders out with strange men when some of the girls clearly don’t want to go,” one cheerleader told the NYT. “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.”
The Redskins' director and choreographer, Stephanie Jojokian, denied the allegations saying she was "not forcing anyone to go at all." She also says the cheerleaders were not chosen by the sponsors themselves.
“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," Jojokian told The NYT.