Lawyers demand release of pictures of Washington’s former cheerleader

Lawyers for more than three dozen former employees of the Washington Commanders have requested the removal of “sexual and salacious photographs” of the organization’s former cheerleaders from any congressional record.

Attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz sent a strong letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, ranking member James Comer (R-Kentucky) saying their clients are “humiliated and incensed by the Reckless dissemination of these pictures by the GOP.”

The photos in question were originally sent by former team general manager and team president Bruce Allen to former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden and several other men. Fifty-seven of the e-mails were distributed as part of a memorandum by Republicans on December 7 after the release of the committee’s investigation, led by Democrats, into the owner of the Commanders Dan Snyder and the workplace of the organization.

Banks told ESPN that the inclusion of these documents was “charming.” She called the inclusion of these photos “unnecessary, inappropriate and unprofessional.”

A Republican aide on the committee said the photos are not, and will not be, part of the congressional record. The memorandum was distributed to Republican staff members. Several media also received the memorandum.

The aide said in a statement that the Democrats “selected facts” to support their narrative and that the Republican memorandum was intended to show that more evidence should be considered.

The statement also read that “Prior to circulating the internal memo, Committee staff took steps to ensure that all sensitive images involving cheerleaders were redacted and their identities kept confidential.”

Banks and Katz also sent their letter to outgoing committee chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-New York). Comer will assume chairmanship of the committee next month.

A spokesman for the Democrats on the committee told ESPN: “Our report exposed what is possible when those in power work to maintain a culture that glorifies sexual harassment. No organization should ever spread the sexual images of an individual without their permission, least of all a body charged with protecting women from sexual harassment and retaliation in the workplace. I hope the Republicans on the Committee will hear the concerns of the women depicted in their report and are taking the delayed steps to protect their privacy.”

Last week, Republicans released the 57 emails and documents, which included images of former Washington cheerleaders whose faces were blacked out.

“These emails show that under Allen’s leadership there was a toxic workplace — one that has since been reformed based on independent third-party reviews of the team’s culture,” the memo says. “Committee Democrats have not identified or produced similar emails or documents identifying any racist, misogynistic or homophobic behavior by Dan Snyder.”

Melanie Coburn, a former Washington cheerleader and marketing director, said that although two of the cheerleader photos were from a calendar, the others were from pre-editions that were placed in binders intended to be presented to the property and have not been released.

“It’s more about when [Allen] got access to these and what state these photos were in,” Coburn said. “In some body painting, if it is not touched, it is very revealing.

“These women are devastated again. They feel powerless, they feel silent and they are retraumatized.”

Coburn said the inclusion of these images was a “slap in the face” to legislation introduced by Maloney called the Professional Image Protection Act that would “guard against the misuse of employee images and ensures that employees have a say in how and when their images are used for commercial purposes.”

“These are our elected officials in the context of what purports to be an official document that presents salacious sexualized images as part of their report obviously to embarrass a particular individual with whom Dan Snyder has a dispute,” Banks told the ESPN.

In the letter to Comer, Banks and Katz, who represent more than 40 former team employees, wrote that including images of the former cheerleaders caused “additional and unnecessary pain.” Coburn said some of the women involved in the photos were also part of videos left over from photo shoots allegedly done for Snyder.

“These photos, which show the breasts, buttocks and genital areas of women,” they wrote in the letter, “were apparently disseminated to advance team owner Daniel Snyder’s persistent but discredited narrative that Bruce Allen, and not Mr. Snyder, he was responsible for the sexism.hostile and misogynistic team culture.

“Our clients also want assurances that these photos will never be used in such a way again.”

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