A former NFL star has accused the CEO of a New York-based metaverse company of sexually harassing him and another Black employee, claiming she used racial slurs, subjected him to bizarre come-ons and made lewd references to his sex life, two recently-filed lawsuits claim.
Teyo Johnson – a former tight end for the Oakland Raiders – says Everyrealm CEO Janine Yorio created a toxic work environment, including one remark where she threatened to “trade” Johnson if he didn’t perform her requests, the New York Post reports.
Lawsuit Filed By Ex-NFL Star And Former Everyrealm Employee Alleges Racism, Sexual Harassment
The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court, named Yorio and Everyrealm as defendants, the latter of which boasts backers including the Silicon Valley venture firm Andreessen Horowitz, which has celebrity endorsers ranging from Paris Hilton, Will Smith and The Weeknd and more.
Johnson also alleges that he was pressured into “sexually harassing games” wherein coworkers and clients were encouraged to sleep with one another.
In March, he claims Yorio told him about a “sex-related game that she encouraged employees to play” while they were on a business trip to the SXSW (South By Southwest) festival in Texas.
The suit goes on to state that “KYP,” an acronym for “know your personnel,” or “KYC” — “know your client” — were “euphemisms for having sex or hooking up with co-workers and business partners.”
DENVER – 2007: Teyo Johnson of the Denver Broncos poses for his 2007 NFL headshot at photo day in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Getty Images)
White Female CEO Allegedly Urged Johnson To Sleep With Co-Workers, Called Him A “Stupid Black Person”
The female CEO, who is white, told Johnson that “the way to pay the game” was to “get laid by a co-worker on a business trip,” according to the lawsuit.
Johnson, whose job required managing celebrity accounts, says Yorio reportedly asked him if “he would be doing any KYP,” a comment which caused him to be “taken aback” by the suggestion, before “politely informed her that he was ‘already really close with someone’.”
That same night, the former NFL star claims Yorio was “testing the waters” with him upon entering his hotel room and “insinuating in no uncertain terms that she believed he would” cheat on his girlfriend “to participate in the company’s KYP game.”
Johnson also alleged that Yorio made offensive statements about his girlfriend’s menstrual cycle and reportedly called him a “stupid Black person” and “the whitest Black person.”
Yorio is said to have used other slurs directed at Johnson, including “d***,” “big swinging d***,” and “f***ing d***,” the lawsuit alleges.
When reached by The Post for comment, a spokesperson for Everyrealm called Johnsons claims “lies,” and attempted to characterize him as an incompetent and lazy employee.
When two web3 divas cross paths. @ParisHilton pic.twitter.com/Ea2hoJQNpu
— janineyorio (@janineyorio) March 16, 2022
“As we have stated in our court filings, this employee worked at the company for only three months and was terminated for poor performance, expense account abuse, and falling asleep on the job,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
Everyrealm Denies Accusations Despite Another Similar Lawsuit Filed By A Second Former Black Employee
In their own legal filing, Everyrealm also alleged that Johnson “openly and routinely disparaged the mother of his child and demanded that Everyrealm pay a portion of his wages in cash to avoid garnishment for child support payments.”
The company added that it refused Johnson’s alleged demand to be paid in cash.
“Johnson made various inappropriate comments in the workplace regarding other women in his life, hazed a junior female employee by disparaging her as ‘rookie’ and refusing to meet with her, and referred to [Everyrealm co-founder Julia] Schwartz as ‘that b****’ and Mrs. Yorio as ‘that crazy b****’,” the company alleged in its filing.
However, Yorio faces similar accusations from another former Black employee in a lawsuit filed last month.
Introducing our keynote speaker Janine Yorio(@janineyorio) who will be at #KBW2022 to address on a gateway to the Metaverse.
Janine Yorio is CEO of EVERYREALM(@everyrealm), one of the most active investors and developers of the metaverse real estate ecosystem. pic.twitter.com/BitWesburt
— Korea Blockchain Week (@kbwofficial) July 4, 2022
Gatsby Frimpong, who has previously worked as a product manager at Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Cisco Systems, claims he was paid far less at Everyrealm than a white engineering director was offered for nearly identical work,.
Frimpong added that Yorio refused to consider him for a promotion after he allegedly rejected her sexual advances, The Post reports.
Company Calls Lawsuits “Extortionate” While Reportedly Filing Its Own Suits Against Plaintiffs
An Everyrealm spokesperson once again attempted to defend Yorio, telling The Post: “These allegations are absurd. This former employee (Frimpong) worked remotely, and Mrs. Yorio only interacted with him a few times on video calls.”
“We will defend against his false allegations. These lawsuits are filled with false allegations by former employees who are demanding multimillion dollar settlements,” the company spokesperson added. “Our company works hard to foster a supportive, inclusive workplace, and we will continue to defend against these lawsuits.”
Everyrealm has reportedly filed its own lawsuits against Johnson and Frimpong – are are currently requesting to take the complaints out of litigation and into arbitration.
The company also accused the plaintiffs of pursuing an “extortionate” settlement demand of $1.9 million, according to The Post.