Jonathan Coachman has been named in a new lawsuit against ESPN in which an ex-employee claims he was “notorious” for sexually harassing women at the company.
Former anchor Adrienne Lawrence filed a sexual harassment/discrimination lawsuit against ESPN on Sunday that accuses the company of ignoring her complaints, specifically against SportsCenter host John Buccigross — but Coachman is mentioned as well.
The document states:
“On or around January 18, 2016, SportsCenter anchor Jonathan Coachman (“Coachman”) emailed Ms. Lawrence offering to provide her with mentorship and providing his cellphone number. When he contacted her via text, he quickly turned a professional conversation into a personal matter, asking her about her musical interests. He was employing the ESPN predators’ playbook. See supra at ¶ 84. 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.”
Lawrence also claims:
“Coachman’s reputation for making unwelcome sexual advances toward 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. See supra at ¶ 13. At least one young production assistant who joined ESPN just out of college had complained to Ms. Lawrence about Coachman making her feel uncomfortable by complimenting her physical appearance and making passes at her.
As explained below, when Ms. Lawrence complained to Jack Obringer, Senior Coordinating Producer, Studio Production of ESPN, Inc. that she was being sexually harassed (by another individual), Obringer guessed that the harasser was “Coachman” and indicated that his inappropriate behavior toward women was well-known to management. Nevertheless, Coachman continued to appear in ESPN commercials and on SportsCenter without discipline or accountability until he was quietly dismissed on or around April 26, 2017 via layoff.”
A rep for WWE tells us, “We take these matters very seriously and are investigating.”
Coachman responded on social media on Tuesday. Read his statement here.