Lawsuit against NFL Films could get ugly for the league

The NFL owns NFL Films. So anything that happens at NFL Films necessarily happens at the NFL. Which, given the specifics of the lawsuit filed last week against NFL Films, is bad news for the NFL.

The NJ.com article reporting on the existence of the litigation covers the basics but doesn’t delve into the details, which if true paint an ugly picture as to the interpersonal relationships at NFL Films. If false, the NFL needs to mobilize quickly to debunk the claims.

PFT has obtained a copy of the complaint, and here are some of the more eye-catching claims.

In 2006, former NFL Films V.P. of broadcasting Glenn Adamo arrived at the home of the plaintiff, Nadia Axakowsky to “pay a visit” while she was recovering from childbirth and dealing with symptoms of postpartum depression. At paragraph 36, the complaint claims that Adamo “proceed[ed] to attack Plaintiff.”

“He shoved her down on the couch,” the complaint asserts, “kissed her, and forcibly fondled and sexually groped Plaintiff.”

At paragraph 42, the complaint alleges that Adamo “was a serial harasser of women, and would often corner women in his office behind closed doors.”

At paragraph 43, the complaint contends that, in August 2012, Adamo “grabbed Plaintiff’s buttocks, groped and kissed her” during a hug that he had demanded after she received a raise.

The complaint claims at paragraph 46 that, at some point in or around 2012, Adamo asked to spent the night with Axakowsky, and he said he wanted to “smother [her] with millions of kisses,” and that he eventually “grabbed [her] by the head and kissed her.”

In paragraph 48, the complaint alleges that, after Adamo approved a guaranteed weekly salary for Axakowsky, he asked for a hug in his office. He then allegedly “proceeded to forcefully grab Plaintiff’s buttocks and push his penis into her,” telling her that “he wanted to have sex with Plaintiff on his desk and proceeded to shove his hand under Plaintiff’s shirt and grab her breasts.”

After she insisted that he stop and as she left the office, Adamo allegedly said (per paragraph 51), “Nadia, I don’t know how long I can keep you.”

According to paragraph 53, Adamo allegedly groped her again in his office, “reaching up her skirt and grabbing Plaintiff’s buttocks and pushing his penis against Plaintiff’s body.”

The lawsuit, triggered by the termination of Axakowsky’s employment (Adamo had previously left the company), alleges sexual harassment, gender discrimination, retaliation against her for her many internal complaints about sexual harassment, assault and battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

In a statement issued last week to NJ.com, the league said the lawsuit has no merit, and that it will “vigorously defend” itself in court.

That process will begin with the NFL either filling a motion to dismiss the case or submitting a former written answer, which will respond to (and presumably deny) every factual allegation made.

If the case survives past the pleadings phase, the pre-trial discovery process will commence, featuring a wide range of witnesses testifying under oath. The most important witnesses will be Axakowsky, Adamo, and anyone who can credibly corroborate either of their stories.

14 responses to “Lawsuit against NFL Films could get ugly for the league

  1. I’m sorry, assuming this is true – how does she let this scumbag do this for ten+ years in this day and age? Doesn’t make sense she didn’t file a suit a long time ago and not wait till she was fired.

  2. nflfan4now says:

    Jul 3, 2017 3:41 PM
    I’m sorry, assuming this is true – how does she let this scumbag do this for ten+ years in this day and age? Doesn’t make sense she didn’t file a suit a long time ago and not wait till she was fired.

    ====================

    Typical person doesn’t want to lose his/her job or have to change jobs. It was her livelihood.

    Plenty of people everyday accept awful garbage in their work or personal life because they can’t afford to take the risk of complaining and are afraid of what will happen if they do.

    Someone people in this world are fearless and don’t care about consequences of complaining. Most people aren’t fearless and are scared of consequences.

    Retaliation for making a complaint is the primary fear people have in making a workplace complaint. Police deal with the same thing (witnesses fearing retaliation) every day. Not hard to understand how it drives people’s behavior.

  3. Sounds like a nice guy. How does anyone think they can get away with that these days. But at the same time, I’m always a little suspicious of adult sexual harassment victims that wait until it’s financially beneficial to them to report it.

  4. @nflfan4now:
    “I’m sorry, assuming this is true – how does she let this scumbag do this for ten+ years in this day and age? Doesn’t make sense she didn’t file a suit a long time ago and not wait till she was fired.”

    Response: “The lawsuit, triggered by the termination of Axakowsky’s employment (Adamo had previously left the company), alleges sexual harassment, gender discrimination, retaliation against her for her many internal complaints about sexual harassment, assault and battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

    You sue a company and a person when the company continues to do nothing. It may not be real, but given the amount of time to respond at all, and seeing almost no response, it would seem very possible. The allegations definitely sound pretty in depth.

  5. @nflfan4now

    Victim blaming is the new black, isn’t it?
    You have no idea why she waited to file. What’s more, it’s really not your business in the first place. Did you ask why Gretchen Carlson waited so long to file a lawsuit against FOX News, for instance? I’ll bet not.

  6. @nflfan4now, if she filed a suit and lost, her career there would have been over. Maybe she wasn’t in a position to risk her job over a suit that can potentially come down to “he said, she said.” The suit also alleges that she did report it and was ignored/retaliated against by the company, so it’s not like she didn’t attempt to defend herself (allegedly).

    Don’t underestimate how damaging and confusing it is to receive that kind of treatment from your employer. You can be made to feel powerless. Especially as a woman in a male-dominated culture (sports in general is still a boys club).

    Not to cast any judgments, because its all allegations right now. But I guarantee if the NFL’s lawyers find any record of HR complaints, they will settle in a heartbeat.

  7. I am not defending the NFL but it is evident that the league had nothing to do with it. They need to throw Adamo under the bus…literally.

    It might make sense that she waited to file after she was fired if she really liked her job and wanted to keep it knowing Adamo was no longer around to harass her. I wonder if she has any evidence to back her claim.

  8. @nflviewer

    I appreciate your comments. While I am not a fan of his, I was shocked to learn that Mike Peirera continued to work for Roger Goodell after Goodell (according to Peirera’s book) put hands on him in a work setting. It didn’t rise to the level of Ms. Axakowski’s complaint, but Goodell would have been disciplined at the least in any other organization.

    Those who read Mr. Florio’s comments carefully noted that one of the charges on the complaint was retaliation against Ms. Axakowski for repeated attempts to report the sexual harassment she was subject to.

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