Redskins Cheerleaders Describe Uneasy Photo Shoot

Tell 'NYT' that obligations with sponsors, suite holders left them uncomfortable on 2013 trip
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2018 7:16 PM CDT
Updated May 3, 2018 2:00 AM CDT
The Washington Redskins cheerleaders perform during the first half an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos in Landover, Md., Sunday, Dec 24, 2017.   (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)
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(Newser) – There's some disagreement about what went down when the Washington Redskins cheerleading squad traveled to Costa Rica in 2013. According to the five unnamed women Juliet Macur spoke to for the New York Times, the trip ended up feeling exploitative. They were at the Occidental Grand Papagayo resort for a calendar photo shoot; some of the 36 women were required to take off their tops at times to facilitate the shots, others wore body paint. And the women say they weren't able to model in privacy, but that male Redskins suite holders and sponsors were invited to watch. And they allege that one evening, nine of the women were told they had been selected to accompany the men to a club.

The women describe their evening as escorts (no sex was involved) as "mandatory" and said they felt as if the team was "pimping us out." Some reportedly cried at the news they had to participate. Macur writes the trip "provides a vivid illustration of how NFL teams have used cheerleaders for far more than sideline dancers during games," particularly as the allegations of discrimination and mistreatment mount. But the women's account is contradicted by both the squad's director and choreographer, Stephanie Jojokian, and two women who were then squad captains and described the night at the club as unforced and "just a night of relaxation." Jojokian tells the Times she "would never put a woman in a situation like that. I actually mentor these women to be strong and to speak up, and it kills me to hear that." Read the full story here. (Read more Washington Redskins stories.)

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