In May, five Buffalo Bills cheerleaders, nicknamed “The Buffalo Jills,” sued the team over alleged violations of New York state minimum wage laws. As a result of the lawsuit, further details have since emerged alleging an entire culture of misogyny and overall degradation towards women, all for little pay.
Details that are alleged include demanding the cheerleaders pay $650 out of pocket for their uniforms, being ordered to do jumping jacks in order to “see if flesh jiggled,” and requiring they attend outside events such as male-dominated golf tournaments for team sponsors.
The high rollers [in the golf tournaments] paid cash — “Flips for Tips” — to watch bikini-clad cheerleaders do back flips. Afterward, the men placed bids on which women would ride around in their golf carts. A not-incidental detail: The carts had no extra seats. Women clung to the back or, much more to the point, were invited to sit in the men’s laps.
Despite those details, the lawsuit itself does not necessarily focus on working conditions but rather lack of a reasonable working wage. According to details within the suit, one cheerleader said she was paid only $420 for over 800 hours of work. Another said she was paid $105.
“People really thought we had it good, that we were paid well and had this luxurious lifestyle. “Seriously? I ended up feeling like a piece of meat.”
Even still, not every cheerleader is in support of the lawsuit filed by the five women. Some who tried out viewed it as an honor just to be considered and are angry that the lawsuit exists, especially since it resulted in the Bills suspending the cheerleading program prior to this season while the lawsuit played out, adding that the cheer program itself was a third-party contractor and the women were not specifically employed by the team.
The NFL has made no comment on the allegations within the lawsuit.