WWE's Raw analyst Jonathan Coachman was amongs a list of current and ex- ESPN employees named on Monday in a sexual discrimination and harassment lawsuit against the company. The complaint was filed in Connecticut's United States District Court by former host Adrienne Lawrence.
The filing claims that "misogyny is deeply woven into the fabric of ESPN's culture," with the company's men said by the plaintiff to retaliate against women as protocol, use predatory tactics such as grooming, and regularly make offensive remarks to and about women. The suit also mentions that "watching porn remains a favorite pastime at ESPN."
Coachman is implicated on page 36 of the document, where he is said to have sought a quid quo pro arrangement with Lawrence:
On or around January 18, 2016, SportsCenter anchor Jonathan Coachman emailed Ms. Lawrence offering to provide her with mentorship and providing his cellphone number. When he contacted her via text, he quickly turned professional conversation into a personal matter, asking her about her musical interests. He was employing the ESPN predators' playbook. Colleagues then cautioned Ms. Lawrence that Coachman was notorious for sexually harassing female employees. After learning that, Ms. Lawrence made an effort to communicate to Coachman that she had a boyfriend, after which she did not hear from him again and he made no offers of mentorship.
Coachman’s reputation for making unwelcome sexual advances to ward women and engaging in other sexually harassing behavior was not a secret. Cary Chow had warned Ms. Lawrence about him when he gave the short list of men at ESPN who were notorious for sexual harassment. Coachman had sent Walsh inappropriate photos of himself and text messages, falsely telling her colleagues that they were romantically involved and that she “wanted” him – another common practice of men at ESPN.
Furthermore, Lawrence alleges that when she brought the issue before ESPN's Senior Coordinating Producer Jack Obringer, Coachman's past indiscretions were acknowledged, but no action was brought against him. Coachman was eventually made redundant in April of last year, and resurfaced in WWE as a replacement for Raw's Booker T in January.
As of now, Jonathan Coachman has not responded to the allegations. ESPN themselves have released a statement refuting all the claims, vowing to "vigorously defend its position", "confident [they] will prevail in court."