Two former ESPN employees, reporter Allison Williams and producer Beth Faber, are suing the Worldwide Leader. Usually, when something like this happens, there’s some salacious accusation at its core. However, some lawsuits are so frivolous they’re clearly a cry for attention.
About the lawsuit
According to Front Office Sports reporter AJ Perez, Williams and Faber’s joint lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut on Wednesday accuses the Walt Disney Company of violating their religious freedom rights.
In the filing, their attorney Christopher Dunn of the Dunn Employment Law firm, claims that ESPN forced “[the] plaintiffs to choose between continuation of their employment and a violation of their religious beliefs in order to retain their livelihoods imposes a substantial burden on plaintiffs’ ability to conduct themselves in accordance with their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
At the time of her firing, Williams explained that her decision not to receive the vaccine was a result of ongoing attempts to have a second child through in vitro fertilization. On Oct. 15, 2021, Williams issued an overly saccharine statement via an Instagram video announcing her ESPN departure expressing how she was “so morally and ethically not aligned with this.” When the mandate was introduced at ESPN, Williams first requested an exemption on the grounds of a disability because she was concerned about the potential unknown effects the vaccination would have on the fetus.” Yet, as eager as Williams was to selectively cooperate with medical professionals during in vitro, she seemingly tuned out similar medical experts, who could have informed her that vaccines don’t interfere with fertility. Two years later, we know that to be true, and yet, she’s pursuing this nonsense.
For what it’s worth, Williams was unable to receive a doctor’s note, though her suit blames California’s “threats” against the medical licenses of doctors who provide medical exemptions.
Faber’s part of the suit
Faber’s religious exemption was also denied and she lost her job after 31 years with the network. In the lawsuit, Faber recalls an ESPN HR rep advising her, “Maybe God has led you to a new career, when God closes a door, he opens another.” Now, that’s a subtle jab.
Faber based her refusal on her faith in God providing her with “the perfect immune system he put in my body before I was ever born” and resistance to reliance on fetal cell lines in the vaccine’s development.
2020 was traumatic, but 2021 was a crazy time where watching adults unable to adjust sabotaged their careers and filtered themselves out of the workforce in the name of beliefs they discovered on the internet.
While the rest of the world is onto their third or fourth boosters and moving on with life, Faber and especially Williams are still chasing anti-vax ghosts.
A quick scroll through Williams’ Twitter, erases the notion that her objection to the vaccine was about in vitro concerns. Despite moving on to a sideline reporting gig with Fox Sports and finally having her second child, she’s still harping on 2021 grievances.
Refusing to take the vaccine and then using a religious exemption to avoid participating in the collective good of mankind during the peak of a once-in-a-century pandemic was irresponsible. Anyone still making opposition to “the jab” your entire persona comes across as deeply pathetic. In recent months, Williams has partnered with conservative propaganda machine, The Daily Wire, on beating the anti-vaccine, anti-wokeness drum by interviewing fugazi luminaries such as John Stockton and Dana White, last seen slapping his wife in public (and admitting to it).
It shouldn’t be surprising that Williams’ anti-vaccine stance segued into an “anti-woke” obsession. Who didn’t see that twist coming from a mile away? I’m personally amused at how often those who espouse intensely religious views also grip tightly onto selfish convictions about their roles in a functioning society.
On its face, Faber and Williams’ entire debacle is predicated on specious arguments, science fiction, and the same dark corners of the internet John Stockton’s ilk frequent. In fact, I’m still not aware of any actual religious reasons expressed by Williams for why she should be exempt. The Vatican and other Christian denominations have recommended their followers receive COVID vaccinations. Meanwhile, research from Vanderbilt University discovered theological opposition existed within only a handful of faith-healing dominations.
A majority of vaccine hesitancy lawsuits masquerading as vaccine mandate lawsuits against the private sector have fizzled out. But Williams and Faber aren’t done looking for exemptions. The lawsuit clings to the theory that the Defense Department exerts control over Disney’s editorial policy. (Imagine not getting the COVID-19 vax because something, something, Walt Disney was an FBI informant.)
The complaint states that while a non-government entity like ESPN would not normally be subject to the Equal Protection Clause, Disney’s overt and covert work on “behalf of the government” instituting their mandate and their work with the military dating back to World War I effectively makes them a government contractor.
Williams and Faber will use this as fodder for their growing right-wing support group, but ultimately, the chances of this going anywhere are tinier than the number of brain cells it takes to keep this anti-jab bit going strong into 2023.