Jets owner Woody Johnson made racist, sexist remarks as ambassador
Unnamed sources claim he said 'Black fathers didn’t remain with their families and that was the ‘real challenge.'
Jets owner Woody Johnson denies making racist and sexist remarks while serving as U.S. ambassador to Britain.
Multiple unnamed sources shared details of the allegations that span the last three years, during Johnson’s diplomatic position. According to CNN, he “made racist generalizations about Black men and questioned why the Black community celebrates Black History Month.”
Three unnamed sources told the outlet that Johnson “argued that Black fathers didn’t remain with their families and that was the ‘real challenge.’”
He also reportedly “appeared agitated” that a 2018 event for Black History Month would have “a whole bunch of Black people” in the audience.
Another source described Johnson’s comments about women as “cringeworthy,” and that “it was a struggle to get him on board for an event for International Women’s Day,” because he seemingly had no interest in a “feminist event.”
Johnson allegedly made the racist and sexist remarks after he stepped back as CEO of the Jets in 2017. The same year he became ambassador to the United Kingdom.
The organization responded to the CNN report in a statement on Tuesday, which said (in part): “One of our fundamental principles is treating employees, players, coaches and fans with respect and dignity, regardless of their race, color, religion, or gender.”
Johnson, who purchased the team in 2000, said in the statement: “I have followed the ethical rules and requirements of my office at all times. These false claims of insensitive remarks about race and gender are totally inconsistent with my longstanding record and values. “
When NBC Sports reached out to the NFL about the allegations against Johnson, the organization said: “We are aware of the report and would refer you to the State Department.”
A State Department spokesperson told CNN that Johnson is “a valued member of the team who has led Mission UK honorably and professionally,” adding “[w]e stand by Ambassador Johnson and look forward to him continuing to ensure our special relationship with the UK is strong.”
Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!