Former ESPN Executive Denies Masturbating In Front Of Erin Andrews In Weirdest Lawsuit Ever
Keith Clinkscales, a former ESPN senior vice president who left the company last month, has filed a lawsuit that claims a colleague defamed him in a Deadspin story. There are two very weird things about the lawsuit.
One, Clinkscales filed it before the story came out, meaning he was suing someone over something that did not yet exist. Two, the lawsuit denies that he ever masturbated in front of ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews on an airplane.
Let's back up a second. Last month, ESPN disbanded its Content Development department, of which Clinkscales (pictured left) was the head. Shortly thereafter, Deadspin received a tip from the husband of one of the people who had worked in Content Development. The employee's husband told them that the whole department, and the 25 people who worked there, had been terminated simply to get rid of Clinkscales.
What did this guy do to warrant such an extreme action? And why would ESPN have to fire a 25-person team simply to get rid of one of its employees?
According to the tipster, who refused to be named, the entire department was "a shitshow." A big part of that shitshow was Clinkscales, who allegedly had a physical altercation with the tipster's wife. During this altercation, he grabbed her, threw her "to the ground," cursed at her, and, ultimately, fired her.
If all (or any) of this happened, this woman's husband would obviously be furious. And, one would think, have a reason to email Deadspin an embarrassing story about Clinkscales, one that he says is well-known among certain members of ESPN's roster.
Earlier this year, Clinkscales traveled to Los Angeles with Erin Andrews for a work-related event. Andrews sat in the middle, while Clinkscales was on the aisle. It was in either first or business class. What happened next was related by Andrews herself to both Connie [the name Deadspin uses for the tipster's wife], her husband, and ESPN anchor Sage Steele. At some point during the trip, Andrews saw Clinkscales masturbating in his seat, beneath his iPad. When he realized he had been caught, Andrews told Connie, Clinkscales panicked and muttered, "You know, I'm one of your bosses."
According to the tipster, Andrews didn't want to report the incident, and wanted it to just kind of go away. This was due, in part, to the emotionally tumultuous peephole video scandal that she had just gone through. Andrews, understandably, didn't want to be the subject of an internal ESPN investigation into whether or not an executive was masturbating next to her on an airplane.
As to why ESPN would dissolve an entire department to avoid the individual firing of one guy? Part of it has to do with the fact that Clinkscales was a "progressive hire," says Deadspin. He was the company's highest-ranking African-American executive, and one that had friends with a lot of pull in the black community. To fire him individually would bring attention, the kind of attention that a company like ESPN wouldn't want.
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