In what can be termed yet another scandal at ESPN, an ex-employee is suing the network claiming her boss took pictures of her and then distorted them to make them look “sexually provocative,” posted them online. Deadspin is reporting that the ex-employee filed suit last month in Connecticut Superior Court and the case has been moved to federal court. ESPN has officially said they are denying the allegations.
Heather Paskewich, who worked as Commercial Operations Assistant and later in the International On-Air Marketing Department, alleges that her former supervisor, Heli Soto, offered to take pictures of her after overhearing her talking about modeling. Paskewich claims in the suit that after the photo shoot, she had trouble obtaining the pictures from Soto and after getting a CD of some, but not all of the photos, she noticed Soto had distorted “them to make them appear sexually provocative.”
Paskewich adds that Soto also put the pictures online without her consent and they were distorted as well.
Paskewich claims that after she accepted a position at ESPN reporting to three people in the International On-Air Marketing Department including Soto, she said he still had the photos and sought to have them removed from the website.
From the lawsuit:
27. When Plaintiff began working in the International On-Air Marketing Department, Juan Alfonso, the head of the department, told Mr. Soto to remove the distorted photographs of Plaintiff from his website, since it was unprofessional. [Senior director, of International On-Air Marketing Andy] Bronstein also told Mr. Soto that the photographs should be removed.
28. Mr. Soto assured Plaintiff that the photographs would be removed.
29. When Plaintif subsequently checked on the website that Mr. Soto maintained, which had previously contained photographs of her distorted to appear sexually provocative, she found that a second, password-protected website had been set up. Although she was unable to access it, Plaintiff saw her own photograph on the home page of the second website.
Paskewich alleges Soto would ask her her out and after taking a leave for foot surgery, he continually asked her out, which she refused.
She claimed after she returned to work, Soto was then hooking up with another employee even though both were married to other people. And in the lawsuit, Paskewich alleges the two made no effort to hide their affair.
And to top it all off, Paskewich said she had to report to Soto and the other employee and had to work in a hostile environment as a result.
Paskewich said she took a medical leave for stress in 2013, but before her return to work, she was laid off.
Paskewich is seeking compensatory and punitive damages including back pay, interest and all lawyer’s fees.