A Metaverse company CEO has been sued for sexual harassment by a former NFL player who claims she pressured him to sleep with his colleagues.
Teyo Johnson, a Canadian football player who played for the Oakland Raiders between 2003 and 2004, has alleged that Everyrealm CEO Janin Yorio was a leader in a problematic work environment, making inappropriate comments regarding the sex lives of staff members.
He also alleges in the lawsuit that Ms Yorio made racist comments towards Black employees.
The lawsuit has been filed against Ms Yorio and Everyrealm in Manhattan federal court. Celebrities who have endorsed the company include Paris Hilton, Will Smith and The Weeknd.
Mr Johnson states in the lawsuit that he was under pressure to take part in “sexually harassing games” in which staff and clients were urged to have sex, according to the New York Post.
Mr Johnson alleged in March that Ms Yorio told him about a “sex-related game that she encouraged employees to play”. At the time, they were on a business trip to SXSW, [South By Southwest] – a music and tech festival in Austin, Texas.
“KYP” – “know your personnel” and “KYC” – “know your client,” were reportedly “euphemisms for having sex or hooking up with co-workers and business partners,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit says that Ms Yorio told Mr Johnson that “the way to [play] the game” was to “get laid by a co-worker on a business trip”.
The legal filing claims that she asked him if “he would be doing any KYP”.
Mr Johnson was reportedly “taken aback” by the idea and “politely informed her that he was ‘already really close with someone’,” according to the suit.
The former football player alleged that Ms Yorio was testing the waters,” coming to his hotel room and “insinuated in no uncertain terms that she believed he would” cheat and “participate in the company’s KYP game”.
The lawsuit also alleges that Ms Yorio called him a “stupid black person” and “the whitest black person”.
Other epithets allegedly includes “d**k,” “big swinging d**k,” and “f***ing d**k”.
Mr Johnson argues he was fired from his job after speaking out about a “gambling scheme” involving cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens. It “involved a cryptocurrency version of fantasy sports in which users would buy packs of NFTs representing professional soccer playing cards”.
“Users would enter cryptocurrency into a pool and then win prize money if their NFT playing cards performed better than the other players’ NFTs,” the lawsuit states.
Mr Johnson “reasonably believed” that the project “would violate numerous New York and federal laws” because “randomizing the packs of cards” would make it “a game of chance and thus be illegal”.
A spokesperson for Everyrealm told the New York Post that “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”.
In a court filing, Everyrealm argues that Mr 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 states in a court filing that “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***h’ and Mrs Yorio as ‘that crazy b***h’”.
Mr Johnson’s lawyer Shane Seppinni told The Post that “Janine Yorio and her enablers at Everyrealm’s comments show just how scared they are of the truth”.
Everyrealm and Ms Yorio are also facing allegations of misconduct from two other people who have worked at the company.
“Everyrealm works hard to foster a supportive, inclusive workplace, and we will continue to defend against these lawsuits,” a spokesperson told The Post.