Several Washington Redskins cheerleaders who were part of the cheerleading squad that traveled to Costa Rica in 2013 for a team calendar photo shoot claim the team allowed sponsors and suite holders access to their photo shoots that required some of the them to pose topless, according to a report by the New York Times.
The newspaper interviewed five cheerleaders who took part in the weeklong trip at the Occidental Grand Papagayo. They said concerns were first raised after Redskins officials collected the cheerleaders’ passports before they arrived at the resort. The unnamed cheerleaders spoke anonymously due to the confidentiality agreements they signed when they joined the squad.
According to the report, the cheerleaders said at the end of a 14-hour day that included practices along with posing for the calendar shoot, the squad’s director ordered nine of the 36 cheerleaders to be personal escorts for some of the male sponsors at a nightclub, which was described by the cheerleaders as “pimping us out.” However, the participation did not involve sex, according to the cheerleaders.
“They weren’t putting a gun to our heads, but it was mandatory for us to go,” one of the cheerleaders said to the New York Times. “We weren’t asked, we were told. Other girls were devastated because we knew exactly what she was doing.”
However, the director and choreographer of the Redskins cheerleading squad denied the cheerleaders’ account of the trip, the New York Times reported.
The Redskins told the Times in a statement saying, “The Redskins’ cheerleader program is one of the NFL’s premier teams in participation, professionalism, and community service. Each Redskin cheerleader is contractually protected to ensure a safe and constructive environment. The work our cheerleaders do in our community, visiting our troops abroad, and supporting our team on the field is something the Redskins organization and our fans take great pride in.”