On February 8, 2022, undercover footage recorded at ESPN published by Project Veritas revealed what appears to be a workplace environment full of toxic racist tension.
The footage was obtained by former ESPN Studio Operator, Trevor Adams, who previously sent a companywide email airing these concerns, and others shared by his coworkers, about the problematic workplace environment.
In one clip, a black studio operator discusses, “the racial sh*t that happens in here all the time.” In another clip, a black woman working as an audio communications specialist says, “that’s not how it is” when addressing the difference between ESPN’s workplace environment and social justice image.
Surveillance footage outside of Adams’ home shows local law enforcement arriving at the request of ESPN which flagged him as a security threat two days after that his email was sent. During the interaction with law enforcement, they confirmed that they were sent by the company as a result of the email.
Adams was surprised by the reaction from ESPN given the amount of support he received from coworkers. “A lot of people were cheering me on. A lot of people said, ‘We’re glad you sent this. We hope something comes of it. We don’t think it will, but we’re glad that finally someone spoke up.’”
A black woman working as a lead audio communications specialist who said, “that’s not how it is” when addressing the difference between ESPN’s workplace environment and social justice image, is also seen on footage offering her support for Adams.
“From my experience, especially with the discrimination and the racism. I think he’s [Trevor Adams] just trying to shine light on a bigger situation, and I said, ‘I’ll back him.’ I wanted to do what he did, but I know if I would have done that, I would have been fired.’”
Although ESPN has not yet officially responded to Project Veritas’ request for comment, an email from within ESPN was leaked revealing that the company was in fact aware of the Project Veritas video. In the email, Stephen McDonald, Associate Manager in Customer Care Operations, made false claims about Project Veritas and instructed employees to “not engage on any social media posts” regarding the recent release.