Former Colts Cheerleader Malori Wampler Fired for Racy Photos or Race?
It's not about the racy photos - it's about the race - and gender, according to an Indianapolis Colts cheerleader who recently filed a lawsuit against the organization, claiming that they fired her because she is female and Indonesian, not because of her nearly naked Playboy photos, as she was told.
Malori Wampler was called into the Colts' office the day after she'd cheered at a game in November. She was told that the organization objected to some Playboy photos she'd posed for before she was employed by the Colts, that depicted her almost nude with body paint - her private parts were covered. She was not identified in the photos.
Colts officials told her the photos violated the part of her contract that says she must not be involved in "any act that will or may create notoriety."
Wampler believes that the Colts discriminated against her based on her gender and ethnicity, since cheerleaders of other ethnicities, and even players on the Colts team who have similar clauses in their contracts, have been involved in acts that brought "notoriety" beyond team functions, and they were allowed to keep their jobs. Her lawsuit cites numerous examples.
Wampler, who was employed by Playboy prior to becoming a Colts cheerleader, had told her prospective employers about her job there, and she was hired after a particular photo of her was removed from the Playboy website. She says that she never posed nude for Playboy.
But apparently, a fan did some extensive Internet sleuthing, found the photos and sent them to the Colts head office.
"I couldn't find them, she couldn't find them, so they are not easily accessible to the public," Wampler's attorney, Kimberly Jeselskis told Indystar.com. Jeselskis believes they must have been buried in Playboy's web archives. Wampler had no idea they were posted.
So what is Wampler seeking, in addition to a clean reputation? She wants the judge to tell the Colts to rehire her, pay her the wages she lost since she was fired in November, and to compensate her for damages and the cost of the lawsuit. Wampler was paid $100 for each game and promotional appearance. She says that her cheerleading job was her only source of income. She is currently working as a physical therapist.
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Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award-winning multi-media journalist and author of Career Comeback--Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want. Her work has been translated into 20 different languages, and she is a frequent expert guest and commentator on news and talk shows. She has been featured in The Wall St. Journal, on the CBS Early Show, NBC Today, CNBC, Fox Business News, Dr. Phil, Oprah.com and many other media outlets. Lisa discusses her AOL pieces each week and interviews vital guests on the web TV show, This Week in Careers. Learn more on LisaJohnsonMandell.com.