Two weeks ago, a former NFL cheerleader filed a class-action lawsuit against the Houston Texans that alleged she was body-shamed by her coaches and not compensated for her time. Now, five more former Houston Texans cheerleaders have filed their own suit with even more wide-ranging allegations. The claims in their complaint run from bullying and intimidation to body-shaming and physical assault.
In the lawsuit, which was filed Friday in U.S. district court in Houston, five former Houston Texans cheerleaders — Hannah Turnbow, Ainsley Parish, Morgan Wiederhold, Ashley Rodriguez, and Kelly Neuner — claim they were "subjected to intense scrutiny, harassment, threats of physical assaults, actual assaults by spectators, and cyberbullying by the coach and her staff" while employed by the team. In response to the allegations, the Texans' Vice President of Communications Amy Palcic issued a statement:
We are proud of the cheerleader program and have had hundreds of women participate and enjoy their experience while making a positive impact in the local community. We are constantly evaluating our procedures and will continue to make adjustments as needed to make the program enjoyable for everyone.
According to the complaint, the women's contract allegedly stated they would be paid $7.25 an hour "for each hour spent providing services as a Houston Texans Cheerleader." The women argue that rate should have covered time spent at practices, games, appearances, and photoshoots, as well as time spent in meetings, team-ordered beauty services, workouts at the gym and monitoring social media accounts as mandated by team rules.
But they allege the Texans didn't provide compensation "for many of those hours," and that they were "forced to make a number of appearances (including out of state travel) without compensation." And that's not even half of what the women claim they went through; the lawsuit contains several other notable complaints, including about how the women were allegedly treated by their coach, Alto Gary.