As ESPN continues to weather the storm of its aborted Barstool Sports experiment, former Jets sideline reporter Jenn Sterger alleges the Worldwide Leader’s hands are just as dirty.
Sterger, the alleged recipient of raunchy Brett Favre photos nearly a decade ago, is speaking out against the sports network after ESPN president John Skipper announced Monday he was canceling “Barstool Van Talk” following one episode amid outcry — both internal and external — regarding Barstool’s commentary about women.
“Since we are being honest, I will say this: I HATE how Barstool Sports treats women. But the other side is just as bad,” Sterger tweeted Monday evening.
According to Sterger’s detailed account, she was brought to Charlotte, NC, in 2007 to test for an on-air opportunity.
Following the meeting, Sterger, then 23, was invited by an ESPN employee to go to a club. She was told “everyone was going,” but was instead brought to a strip club.
“I was extremely uncomfortable by the situation and incredibly awkward as I had never stepped foot in one before,” Sterger recalled. “I had to watch as my male coworkers got lap-dances from girls while they teased me about how I was uncomfortable and didn’t want to participate.”
Sterger said she was confronted by two bosses the following day, asking whether she went to the strip club.
“I told them I had been, but didn’t want to be there once I realized what it was. They admonished me and said it was a bad look for the company for me to be there and to never do it again,” she recounted. “I was fired before my plane landed in Tampa.”
It is unclear if Sterger worked at ESPN.
“We have no record of this ever being brought to our attention,” the network said in a statement. “We thoroughly investigate all allegations brought to us. Fostering a professional and respectful workplace is a top priority for ESPN and we always encourage people to report any issues.”
Sterger shared another experience from 2008, in which the same ESPNer invited her to Bristol, Conn., to interview for a potential job opportunity.
“They sent a car service to Jersey to pick me up. When I asked for more details about the job, everyone I spoke to were super vague and nondescript about what they were looking for. They had me come in, and paraded me around the place. Then took me into the office for some weird line of questioning. Asking me if I had hooked up with ‘so and so’ etc. or ‘this person’ or ‘that person’ … this was my job interview,” she described.
When Sterger was informed her car for the trip home had been canceled, she was invited to hitch a ride with the employee, who then discussed the “numerous girls” he was hooking up with, implying that “he was helping their careers.”
Despite telling the employee she was in a relationship, he wouldn’t budge.
“We made it to the city where he asked me to go to dinner with him, I declined & got on the closest train. I cried the whole way home. He still works there. He’s still gainfully employed. He’s a decision maker there,” Sterger shared. “I later found out through a friend that works there they only brought me in to show his coworkers I was ‘just as f–kable in person as I was in pictures.’ That and he insinuated he and I had hooked up …. Which NEVER happened.”
Sterger also called out other women who publicly criticized Barstool, stressing the importance of fighting for one another no matter what’s at stake.
“Some of the women that have spoken out against Barstool there are now some of the biggest and loudest champions of this movement of honest and Women standing up for ourselves. But need I remind some of them, that when the time came to defend me a few years ago, they were the first ones to say ‘I asked for it,’ ‘look how she dresses,’ and ‘she probably just wants money,'” Sterger said.
“Support other women all the time. Not when it fits your f–king agenda,” she added. “It was just as easy to support me back then as it is to back these victims today.”
After Sterger came forward, some Barstool supporters suggested she was likening ESPN to Barstool, despite not having knowledge about Barstool’s inner workings.
“Did not accuse BS of harrassment,” she wrote. “Im addressing the hypocrisy of ESPN ending their relationship w/ @barstoolsports based on who ESPN employs.”
Sterger’s accounts come not only in the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s ongoing sexual harassment allegations, but following “Sunday Night Countdown” host Sam Ponder’s online tirade against Barstool ahead of the short-lived show’s premiere.