WWE Superstar was recently fired by the company after he was accused by Philomena Sheahan of rape sexually assaulting her; alas another Superstar may follow that route after WWE completes its investigation.
WWE Raw commentator Jonathan Coachman has been named in a sexual discrimination and harassment lawsuit filed against ESPN.
Former ESPN employee Adrienne Lawrence alleges the 42-year-old was “notorious” for sexually harassing women at the US sports TV channel.
She made the claims against ‘The Coach’ in a lawsuit filed in Connecticut’s United States District Court, but has not specified potential damages.
Coachman, who left ESPN last April, was named in a section titled “Men Preyed on Ms. Lawrence Under the Guise of Being Collegial or Providing Mentorship”.
It reads: “On or around January 18, 2016, SportsCenter anchor Jonathan Coachman (“Coachman”) emailed Ms. Lawrence offering to provide her with mentorship and providing his cellphone number.
“When he contacted her via text, he quickly turned a professional conversation into a personal matter, asking her about her musical interests. He was employing the ESPN predators’ playbook.
“Colleagues then cautioned Ms. Lawrence that Coachman was notorious for sexually harassing female employees.
“After learning that, Ms. Lawrence made an effort to communicate to Coachman that she had a boyfriend, after which she did not hear from him again and he made no offers of mentorship.
“Coachman’s reputation for making unwelcome sexual advances toward women and engaging in other sexually harassing behavior was not a secret.
“Cary Chow had warned Ms. Lawrence about him when he gave the short list of men at ESPN who were notorious for sexual harassment.
“Coachman had sent Walsh inappropriate photos of himself and text messages, falsely telling her colleagues that they were romantically involved and that she “wanted” him – another common practice of men at ESPN.
“At least one young production assistant who joined ESPN just out of college had complained to Ms. Lawrence about Coachman making her feel uncomfortable by complimenting her physical appearance and making passes at her.”
In the footnotes, the lawsuit further alleges: “As explained below, when Ms. Lawrence complained to Jack Obringer, Senior Coordinating Producer, StudioProduction of ESPN, Inc. that she was being sexually harassed (by another individual), Obringer guessed that the harasser was “Coachman” and indicated that his inappropriate behaviour toward women was well-known to management.
“Nevertheless, Coachman continued to appear in ESPN commercials and on SportsCenter without discipline or accountability until he was quietly dismissed on or around April 26, 2017 via layoff.”
In a statement, ESPN said: “We conducted a thorough investigation of the claims Adrienne Lawrence surfaced to ESPN and they are entirely without merit.
“Ms. Lawrence was hired into a two-year talent development program and was told that her contract would not be renewed at the conclusion of the training program.
“At that same time, ESPN also told 100 other talent with substantially more experience, that their contracts would not be renewed.
“The company will vigorously defend its position and we are confident we will prevail in court.”