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Why is former ESPN reporter Allison Williams suing the sports network?

The allegations in Williams’ lawsuit seem to paint a very different picture of the network than the one that has previously put forward.

Why is former ESPN reporter Allison Williams suing the sports network?

It’s fair to say that the global pandemic wasn’t easy on anyone. From lockdowns and all the issues that came with them, to the mass loss of life and economic instability and finally the controversial vaccine mandates. Suffice to say it wasn’t a good time. With that said, there are some who are still carrying on the fight against the effects of the measures taken back in 2021 and it’s got quite ugly.

Former ESPN reporter Allison Williams is suing the network

According to recent reports, former ESPN reporter Allison Williams is suing the sports network after she was fired in 2021 for failing to comply with the company’s covid-19 vaccine mandate. Williams along with former ESPN producer Beth Faber filed a joint lawsuit against ESPN and Disney in Connecticut on Wednesday, in which they claim their religious beliefs were violated. As per the lawsuit, Williams stated that in August of 2021, she had in fact applied for a disability exemption from the network’s vaccine mandate due to the fact that she was undergoing in vitro fertilization. It’s important to note here, that CDC has stated “there is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including covid-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men.”

Further to that, Williams went on to say that the reason she was not granted a physician’s letter to support her concerns, was because medical professionals were being “threatened” for doing so in California. A few weeks after that point, she took the decision to apply for a religious exemption. “(Williams) informed Defendants in writing that she was a Christian and that her sincerely held and heartfelt religious beliefs prohibited her from being vaccinated,” the suit reads.

What went down between Allison Williams and ESPN?

Williams announced that she would be leaving the network, due to her stance on the covid-19 vaccine after 15-years as a member of staff. A regular presence on ESPN’s college football broadcasts, she indicated that at the start of August of that year the network made vaccinations mandatory for staff at live events. Indeed, the network has since made vaccinations mandatory for all staff. It is understood that Williams explained to management that she not been vaccinated since the age of 12, when she experienced “a bad reaction to one.” In addition, she also stated that her daughter, who was 2-years-old at the time had not received any vaccines whatsoever

What do we know about the lawsuit against ESPN

As things stand, the lawsuit claims that ESPN and Disney made no efforts to accommodate Williams, who offered to work remote, test regularly and wear a mask. Worth noting, is the fact that NFL teams, college football teams and specific venues at the time were not excluding the unvaccinated. Ultimately, Williams’ exemption request was denied in October of 2021 and she was subsequently terminated a week later after refusing to get vaccinated, the suit concludes. Where Faber is concerned, her religious exemption was also denied and she was fired in September of 2021, following 31-years with the network. Interestingly, the 83-page complaint alleges that Disney’s vaccine mandate was not the company’s own doing, but rather a “state action” influenced by its “symbiotic relationship with the Defense Department.”

“It is well-known that the Defense Department has exercised direct editorial control over Disney’s content,” the suit reads. “That control does not stop at content but extends to direct, indirect and covert encouragement as it pertains to policies and practices, such as vaccination requirements.”

What is the situation with the lawsuit now?

Where the final details of the suit are concerned, it is understood that both Faber and Williams are seeking “compensatory damages, back and front pay, reputational damages, damages for emotional trauma and distress, punitive damages, reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs of the action, pre- and post-judgment interest.” The curious thing to remember is that Williams announced in October 2021 that she was leaving the network rather than being dismissed for her failure to comply with ESPN’s covid-19 vaccination mandate. Williams said she’s “morally and ethically” against the vaccine as she’s looking to have another child with her husband.

“Ultimately, I cannot put a paycheck over principle,” she said at the time. “And I will not sacrifice something that I believe and hold so strongly to maintain a career.” Incidentally Williams and her husband welcomed a second child in July of 2022. At present she works for Fox Sports.


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