6:39am PT by Katie Kilkenny
Samantha Bee Compares NFL to Saudi Arabia in Cheerleader Investigation
Samantha Bee went behind the scenes on ex-cheerleaders' lawsuit against the Houston Texans in a segment on her show Wednesday night.
Bee caught up with lawyer Gloria Allred and former cheerleader Bailey Davis about the suit, which alleges that the team did not fully compensate the cheerleaders and provided a hostile workplace where they learned to expect harsh treatment. "I need to find out what it's like to be a cheerleader, which is totally in my wheelhouse," Bee joked to kick off the segment, as an image of her in a stereotypical nerd outfit flashed onscreen.
Bee first interviewed Davis, who maintained that she and other cheerleaders are athletes, even if they weren't treated as such in Houston. "If I wasn't an athlete, would I be able to do this?" she asked while stretching one leg above her shoulders.
"I hear that, sister," Bee joked, while holding up a fake, plastic leg so that it was also parallel with her neck.
Davis then described the work conditions that led herself and other players to initially file an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission report — which was eventually dismissed — accusing the NFL of treating men and women differently: Cheerleaders were told to keep away from and never interact with the players, while players were not told the same. Cheerleaders also adhered to strict etiquette rules so as to not seem "trashy," while male players "could do whatever they wanted," Davis said.
"They told us the football players were predators, and how we respond to them reflects our character," Davis added.
"Does Saudi Arabia own the NFL?" Bee joked.
Since the EEOC report was thrown out, Davis and other cheerleaders have filed suit against the Houston Texans with lawyer Gloria Allred, the Los Angeles-based attorney who most often focuses on women's issues. In an interview with Bee, Allred and several other former Texans cheerleaders made their case for unfair pay and a hostile work environment.
One cheerleader noted that she and her colleagues made just $7.25 an hour. "The parking lot attendants make more than us," she said.
Another recalled a time when a coach told her he wasn't happy with her body and began duct-taping her thigh "to give a little silhouette on the side."
"Duct tape, the classic Texas corset," Bee joked.
Bee then bantered with Allred, and asked her if she would be arguing cases for women forever. "I'm planning a way to continue the fight when I'm no longer here," Allred said.