Owner of the Washington Commandersinterfered in an NFL-led investigation into allegations by former employees that there was rampant sexual harassment by team executives, according to a new report released Thursday by the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
The report also said that Snyder tried to prevent a separate House committee investigation by “intimidating witnesses and blocking the production of documents.” The report accused him of being evasive and deceptive, noting that he had said more than 100 times in testifying before the committee that he did not remember things.
Commanders created a “toxic work culture” for more than two decades by “ignoring and downplaying sexual misconduct” by men at the highest levels of the organization, according to the report.
The report accuses Snyder of engaging in misconduct, claiming he inappropriately touched a former employee at a dinner party, had staff produce a video “of sexually suggestive images of cheerleaders” and ordered that women who were auditioning to be cheerleaders they will walk the track. field “as he and his friends gawked from his suite through binoculars.”
The NFL is not shielded from criticism in the report, which says the league “misled the public about its handling of the Wilkinson Investigation,” “continues to downplay workplace misconduct across the league,” “has not protected workers from sexual harassment and abuse. and “true accountability of those responsible has not been sought.” The Commanders initially hired attorney Beth Wilkinson to conduct an investigation of workplace practices, after several employees said they had been sexually harassed while working for the team. Her stories surfaced in a July 2020 Washington Post report containing allegations of decades of harassment and intimidation within the Commanders organization. Later, the NFL took over the investigation of her.
The House committee opened its investigation after the NFL failed to release a written report of Wilkinson’s review of the team’s workplace culture in the summer of 2021 that resulted in a $10 million fine.
Neither the NFL nor Snyder’s legal team immediately responded to messages seeking comment.
Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represented more than 40 former Commanders employees, said in a statement Thursday that “the committee’s work resulted in important legislation limiting the use of confidentiality agreements, which will help prevent this kind of widespread bullying happens.” in other American workplaces.
Republicans have said they would drop the case immediately once they take control of the House early next year.
Snyder and his wife Tanya recently hired Bank of America Securities to explore selling some or all of the equipment he has owned since 1999. The Commanders are worth an estimated $5.6 billion, according to Forbes — a seven-fold increase over the then-record $800 million Snyder paid for the team in 1999.
Just last month, the team also reached a settlement with the state of Maryland, agreeing to return security deposits to former season ticket holders and pay a $250,000 penalty.