New York Mets general manager Jared Porter was fired Tuesday morning after admitting to sending sexually explicit messages to a female reporter while working for the Chicago Cubs, according to ESPN.
Porter admitted to asking the reporter to join him at his hotel, and when he received no response, he sent 17 photos to her, including two sexually explicit images.
Porter denies the explicit pictures being of himself and claims they were joke-stock photos. Nearly nine hours after ESPN released the story to the public, Mets owner Steve Cohen took to Twitter to announce Porter’s firing.
"In my initial press conference, I spoke about the importance of integrity, and I meant it," Cohen said. "There should be zero tolerance for this type of behavior."
The reporter initially brought her story to ESPN in 2017 but decided against having it published due to the fear of losing her job. Since then, she has left the journalism world and has decided to come forward on the condition that her identity stays hidden, according to ESPN.
The reporter was working as a foreign correspondent at the time of the harassment and now fears backlash from people in her home country.
"I know in the U.S., there is a women's empowerment movement. But in (my home country), it's still far behind," the woman said, according to ESPN. "Women get dragged through the mud if your name is associated with any type of sexual scandal. Women are the ones who get fingers pointed at them. I don't want to go through the victimization process again. I don't want other people to blame me."
The two had first met in an elevator at Yankee Stadium in 2016, where they spoke briefly to one another and exchanged business cards, according to ESPN. Porter began to message her almost immediately and frequently asked her to get drinks with him. Later, he asked if she had a boyfriend.
"If I had a better understanding — not just of the language, but the culture — I definitely would've realized sooner what was going on," the woman said, according to ESPN. Her lack of understanding led to two exchanges between the two where Porter began to send selfies and a sexually suggestive photo. The reporter stated she did not understand the sexual nature of the picture, but once she realized it, she cut off communication with Porter.
Between July 19, 2016 and Aug. 10, 2016, Porter sent her 62 unanswered messages, including a sexually explicit photo. The reporter said that Porter's actions made her feel panicky, and she began to hide from him, according to ESPN. She eventually showed a player from her home country the messages and used an interpreter to send him a message telling him to stop.
After debating whether to alert the Cubs of the harassment, the reporter eventually connected with a Chicago employee during the 2016 postseason, where she disclosed information about the exchanges, according to ESPN. The Cubs released a statement on Monday claiming that they had not heard about the incident before now.
"This story came to our attention tonight, and we are not aware of this incident ever being reported to the organization,” Chicago said, according to ESPN. “Had we been notified, we would have taken swift action as the alleged behavior is in violation of our code of conduct. While these two individuals are no longer with the organization, we take issues of sexual harassment seriously and plan to investigate the matter."
The woman said she turned down opportunities to travel during the 2017 season to avoid seeing Porter, according to ESPN. She then returned to her home country, where she ultimately left reporting altogether.
Although Porter’s messages were not her sole reason for leaving the industry, she said they played a significant role.
"It would be a lie to say similar occurrences hadn't happened to me in (my home country)," she said, according to ESPN. "It's a male-dominated industry. But it was a tipping point for me. I started to ask myself, 'Why do I have to put myself through these situations to earn a living?'"