By now it is well-publicized that the Buffalo Bills’ cheerleading team’s members — the Buffalo Jills — have allegedly been underpaid and victims of sexual harassment and mistreatment. The claims lie mostly with New York state’s $8 per hour minimum wage requirement, the numerous performances that the Jills performed that went unpaid, as well as the sexual misconduct that occurred towards the cheerleaders during events.
The five ex-members of the squad who claim that they were not rightfully paid for many sporting events, were subjected to demeaning physical tests, unfairly scrutinized by their supervisors — including having to perform the now infamous “jiggle test” — and all-around mistreated are the movers of the legal debacle for the Bills. The Jills actually suspended operations a day after the suit was filed, citing the lack of support from the Bills as grounds for removing their support of the team.
Dennis C. Vacco, attorney for Stejon Productions, told the Buffalo News: “Unfortunately, the manner in which the Bills have handled this issue has left Stejon with no other option. The cheerleading squad exists for the benefit of the Bills but without their support, the Jills cannot continue to operate.”
The Buffalo News also quotes Stephanie Mateczun, owner of Stejon Productions: “It was only after serious and thoughtful consideration, consultation with my attorneys, and with the best interests of the women who are members of the squad in mind, that the decision was made to suspend all activities for the Jills until this legal matter can be resolved.”
Indeed, it seems as though the lack of support for the Bills’ own cheerleading squad is against the best interest of the team, but, obviously, sexist action is at play here. It has yet to be determined how the case of the Jills’ or the inactivity of the Bills’ will affect the team and the future of the cheerleading squad. And, of course, there remains the irony that a team refuses to support the people whose sole job it is to support the team.