NFL team Washington Redskins' cheerleaders forced into topless shoot

Redskins Cheerleader
Photo credit: Reuters

NFL team the Washington Redskins have come under fire following reports their cheerleaders were forced to take part in a topless shoot.

An article published in The New York Times details the demeaning treatment the cheerleaders allegedly suffered on a trip to Costa Rica in 2013.

New York Times reporter Juliet Macur spoke to five cheerleaders who went on the trip. The cheerleaders said during a calendar shoot, they were required to be topless 

Furthermore, a group of all-male sponsors and FedEx suite holders "were granted up-close access to the photo shoots". One of the cheerleaders said, "They weren't putting a gun to our heads, but it was mandatory for us to go".

Another confirmed that was the case, saying "we weren't asked, we were told".

The report suggests some of the women involved in the topless shoot were left devastated by their treatment.

Ms Macur writes of one evening where the squad director told nine of the women they had been hand-picked by the sponsors to be personal escorts at a nightclub.

According to the report, several of the women began to cry - with one saying she felt the organisation was "pimping us out".

Squad director Stephanie Jojokian disputed the details, saying the trip wasn't mandatory and the girls who went hadn't been chosen by sponsors. 

In a statement to The New York Times, the team said, "The Redskins' cheerleader program is one of the NFL's premier teams in participation, professionalism and community service.

"Each Redskin cheerleader is contractually protected to ensure a safe and constructive environment.

"The work our cheerleaders do in our community, visiting our troops abroad and supporting our team on the field, is something the Redskins organisation and our fans take great pride in."

Cheerleaders who spoke to The New York Times dispute details of the Redskins' statement, saying they left the squad feeling "worthless and unprotected".