Pro football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin is currently embroiled in a legal battle against Marriott, the hotel company, over allegations of harassment.
The battle pertains to what happened during the week of Super Bowl 2023, when a female employee of Marriott’s Renaissance Phoenix Hotel & Spa accused him of having sexually harassed her.
In response, his employer, the NFL Network, reportedly removed him from his broadcasting duties, prompting Irvin to file suit — but not against his employer. Instead he targeted the $100 million suit at Marriott, claiming that what happened to him was like a modern-day lynching.
Michael Irvin walks into press conference where compared the Marriott allegations to a old fashioned lynching of of Black man with no evidence pic.twitter.com/UtVg99fgDS
— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) March 8, 2023
“Irvin denied that he acted inappropriately and said his encounter was cordial and lasted about a minute before he headed up to his room alone,” according to The Patriot-News.
“This sickens me. In this great country, this takes me back to a time where a white woman would accuse a black man of something,” he said during a press conference last Wednesday alongside his counsel, as reported by The Patriot-News.
“And they would take a bunch of guys that were above the law, run in the barn, put a rope around his foot, and drag him through the mud and hang him by the tree. Not a thought about what would happen, not an investigation, not after repeated attempts of people trying to and say, ‘Guys, here’s what really happened,’” he added.
Now fast-forward to Friday, when Marriott filed a motion pushing back against the narrative being peddled by Irvin and his counsel.
“Irvin’s counsel provided a self-serving, inaccurate summary of the video footage Marriott produced, including his claim that the footage proves Irvin did nothing wrong and then turned the microphone over to Irvin to make racially charged statements,” the motion reads.
It goes on to detail the alleged victim’s full accusation against Irvin.
According to The Dallas Morning News, which has reviewed the filing, Irvin allegedly “flagged down” the victim as she was walking through the hotel lobby’s bar area.
He then allegedly asked her about her line of work, informed her that he thought she was attractive, and formally introduced himself. That’s when things allegedly began to spiral out of control.
“Irvin also reached out and touched the Victim’s arm during this conversation without her consent, causing her to step back, becoming visibly uncomfortable. Irvin then asked the Victim whether she knew anything about having a ‘big Black man inside of [her],’” the motion reads.
“Taken aback by Irvin’s comments, the Victim responded that his comments were inappropriate, and she did not wish to discuss it further. Irvin then attempted to grab the Victim’s hand again and said he was ‘sorry if he brought up bad memories’ for her.’ The Victim pulled her hand away and tried to back away from Irvin as he continued to move towards her,” it continues.
The filing includes specific allegations about what Irvin said to the female staffer, including this section:
“Irvin then asked the Victim whether she knew anything about having a “big Black man inside of [her].”” pic.twitter.com/Ph70PYTbjJ
— Blake Hanson (@BlakeFox4News) March 10, 2023
According to the filing, two of the victim’s coworkers noticed her looking uncomfortable, and so they approached her and Irvin. As they did so, Irvin said something about how “security” had noticed him and then reportedly offered a parting handshake.
“Seeing that other Hotel employees were in the area and wanting the interaction to end, the Victim returned Irvin’s handshake. Irvin then stated that he would come back to find her sometime that week when she was working,” the motion reads.
Irvin then allegedly “leered” at her as she walked away, and then began making nasty comments about her to her co-workers.
“After Irvin finished leering at the Victim and turned back to Employee 1, he said aloud, ‘She bad,’ ‘She bad,’ ‘I want to hit that,’ and slapped himself in the face three times, saying, ‘Keep it together, Mike,'” the motion reads.
The victim reported Irvin’s alleged behavior to her manager the following day. Afterward, the hotel’s director of operations interviewed her.
So clearly, things don’t look so great for Irvin. But there’s a catch. Marriott has refused to release surveillance footage showing the encounter between him and the alleged victim.
That, however, came to an end Friday, when U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant ruled that Marriott had until 5:00 pm that afternoon to release to Irvin “any and all video recordings, written reports and/or witness statements.”
Here’s the order ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/rJVOCd2vlX
— A.J. Perez (@byajperez) March 10, 2023
It’s not clear why Marriott has been so hesitant about handing over the footage, though it does suggest that there may be something in the footage that’d vindicate Irvin.
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