The man who once flirted creepily into a live microphone and open camera with a female colleague allegedly has done more of the same, and perhaps worse.
According to Jason McIntyre of TheBigLead.com, a former ESPN makeup artist settled a sexual harassment claim against the network, and the focal point of the case was Chris Berman.
Gloria Allred represented the makeup artist, Sue Baumann, whose claims included allegations against Berman arising from comments made in the makeup room and in text messages.
ESPN acknowledged the settlement, while downplaying the situation, in a statement issued to McIntyre: “Our thorough investigation revealed the harassment claims had no merit. We settled it solely to save a considerable amount of time and litigation costs,” ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said.
According to the report, Baumann and Cris Carter disclosed a consensual relationship to ESPN management in 2013. Twice that year, police were called to Baumann’s house after investigators showed up and claimed to work for an “employee at ESPN.” The investigators told Baumann’s husband to cease “calling and harassing an employee at ESPN.” According to McIntyre, the ESPN employee was Carter.
Baumann, who was employed by a company that provided makeup services on a contract basis to ESPN, filed suit after being fired in 2015.
It’s unclear whether the lawsuit made allegations against Carter. The report mentions only Berman as a target of the allegations.
ESPN’s explanation regarding the reason for the settlement invites speculation as to the amount of the financial package given to Baumann. Corporate defendants that settle civil cases always insist on a broad, onerous confidentiality provision, which usually allows either side to state only that “the matter has been resolved.”
Depending on the precise language of the confidentiality clause in the settlement paperwork, ESPN’s explanation that it settled the case “to save a considerable amount of time and litigation costs” possibly violates the deal. At a minimum, it suggests that a significant amount may have been paid, not only to “save a considerable amount of time and litigation costs” but to avoid an ugly, public fight that would have eventually resulted in plenty of embarrassing dirty laundry being aired out in open court, creating a huge distraction for ESPN and, at a time when the four-letter network is searching for ways to trim fat, given the suits ample reason to part ways with even more high-dollar talent.