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Former Washington Football Team Employees Discuss Sexual Harassment Allegations

Dan Snyder in a suit

Washington team owner Dan Snyder

Four female former Washington football team employees described a toxic culture within the organization in an interview with ESPN's Outside the Lines on Thursday.

The women addressed their allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace, which were detailed in two reports by The Washington Post earlier this summer. 

"It's hard, working there," said Rachel Engleson, a former marketing director. "You just know that depending on the certain way you dress there's gonna be comments made about what you're wearing, how you look. When you walk through the office, you're just kind of waiting for the comments to come from male colleagues. I would get inappropriate comments about my hair, my outfit, how I looked, in public, in front of my own clients.

"In a way, it became a running joke and a rite of passage. If it didn't happen to you, then maybe you were only there for a week." 

Team owner Dan Snyder initially hired Washington attorney Beth Wilkinson to conduct a “full, unbiased investigation” of the workplace following a report from The Washington Post last month that included 15 former female employees' describing their experiences with sexual harassment within the organization.

Alicia Klein, who interned with the team in 2010, told ESPN that sexual harassment seemed like part of the company's culture.

"At the Washington football team, I felt like it was institutionalized," she said. "The ownership, or the leadership of the company, I don't think they respect women. And I don't think they saw it as a problem." 

Klein recalled how one player repeatedly asked her to go out with him and even followed her to her car one day.

"How am I supposed to do my job when I have somebody waiting for me in the parking lot?" she said. "And I have my colleagues telling me, 'Oh, just wait. Couple days they'll get tired and then they'll chase someone else.'" 

Last week, the Post published a second report detailing a former senior executive's instructing employees to create a behind-the-scenes video for Snyder, featuring outtakes of partially nude team cheerleaders from a 2008 team swimsuit calendar shoot. Snyder later denied the allegations.

Megan Imbert, a former member of Washington's internal production team, told ESPN that she saw lewd footage in the editing bay.

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"It was a piece of footage. I just found it to be odd, but I saw it there," Imbert said. "It was just one of those things I tucked away in the back of my head, just thinking, 'I just hope something never comes of something like that.'

"This is not something [the cheerleaders] would have consented to."

Former cheerleader Tiffany Scourby, who previously spoke with the Post, told ESPN that the cheerleaders were unaware of the footage.

"When I saw it, honestly, I wanted to throw up." Scourby said. "Back to back to back videos of [the cheerleaders] in ways I know they wouldn’t want to be [filmed.]"

Scourby also told a story involving Snyder at a 2004 charity event at the Washington Hilton Hotel. She said Snyder approached Scourby to inform her that Anthony Roberts, an ophthalmologist who had performed Lasik surgery on her, was at the event.

"He said, 'You know, we have a hotel room. Why don't you go upstairs and get to know one another better?" Scourby said.

She told ESPN that she looked at Snyder and said, "Sorry I have to work. Have a great evening."

Snyder has denied the allegations regarding the interaction.

"He can deny it all day long, but I have no motivation to make this up," Scourby told ESPN. "He has a lot of motivation to make this up. I don't, so I'm fine to go toe-to-toe with him on it. People will say 'He said, she said.' She said it because it happened." 

Earlier this week, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell informed Snyder that the NFL would be overseeing the investigation by Wilkinson into the club. 

ESPN also spoke with attorney Lisa Banks, who represents more than 12 former Washington employees. She said her clients "are seeking accountability and change" and called for the NFL to remove Snyder.

"The culture comes from the top. Here, I don't see us having meaningful change without a change in ownership," Banks said.