ESPN releases text messages to defend John Buccigross against sexual harassment claim

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The women told Abelson about difficulties of working for ESPN, including allegations of unwanted touching and advances from their male coworkers.

Earlier this year, former sports anchor Adrienne Lawrence filed a complaint with the Connecticut Commissions on Human Rights and Opportunities, alleging that a culture of sexism and hostility existed at Bristol-based ESPN.

"We conducted a thorough investigation and found these claims to be entirely without merit".

Buccigross told The Globe in a statement: "I considered Adrienne to be a friend". When ESPN informed her, the company said it chose to instead hire a woman with more experience, but also noted that she could have shown "more professional behaviour" during the interview process.

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The allegation against Berry comes from actress, model and writer Jenn Sterger, who previously described sexual harassment at ESPN in a tweet sent in October.

ESPN retaliated by limiting her airtime and passing her over for a full-time job, Lawrence asserts.

"I am grateful to the Boston Globe for sharing some of our experiences at ESPN in hopes of making change, letting others know they're not alone, and helping create an atmosphere in which women in sports too may come forward without rebuke or retaliation".

The text messages that ESPN showed certainly made it seem like Lawrence and Buccigross had a friendly relationship.

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Sterger and Berry say they were both admonished for the strip club outing, but Sterger did not get a job at ESPN while Berry did.

In perhaps the most extreme case, one anchor did her scheduled broadcast while having a miscarriage to prove her commitment. Walsh, who had recently signed a multi-year contract and helped host an opening for ESPN's new digital center, was shocked that her new boss was raising concerns, according to three former employees briefed on the matter at the time.

Jade McCarthy and Lindsay Czarniak have similar stories about pregnancy hurting job security at ESPN.

In some instances, the women said, they hid their pregnancies or felt pressured to take short maternity leaves in order to protect their positions. McCarthy said she was moved off weekend SportsCenter shows when she returned from her first pregnancy at ESPN and was laid off this past April when she was almost eight months pregnant.

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Arnold added: 'We work hard to maintain a respectful and inclusive culture at ESPN. Women who were able to return from a maternity leave often found themselves in less desirable positions than before, with their contracts reduced or not renewed, with significant pay cuts, or replaced by men.

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