NFL owner and U.S. Ambassador to Britain Robert “Woody” Johnson on Wednesday denied allegations he made racist and sexist remarks that prompted a watchdog investigation.
He responded on Twitter citing anonymous sources that the State Department Inspector General conducted an ethics investigation into the New York Jets owner.
“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,” he posted on his official ambassador Twitter account.
One source described Johnson’s comments about women’s appearance as “cringeworthy,” while others said they had difficulty getting him to participate in an event for International Women’s Day.
The sources said Johnson held meetings at a men-only club in London but was told to stop in 2018 because female diplomats wouldn’t be able to attend. He also allegedly said he preferred hiring women because they worked harder for less pay than men.
One source said Johnson appeared uncomfortable attending a Black History Month event at the U.S. Embassy, asking if those in attendance would be “a whole bunch of Black people.” He also allegedly said he didn’t know why there should be a month to celebrate Black history.
Unnamed sources also told media that Johnson attempted to use his position as a diplomat to benefit President Donald Trump’s personal business, specifically the Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland. The president allegedly asked Johnson to pressure the British government to hold the British Open golf tournament at the location.
Trump tapped Johnson to be his ambassador to Britain in June 2017, at which point Johnson’s brother, Christopher Johnson, assumed the role of chairman and CEO of the New York Jets.
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