Cold Pizza hosts accused of sexual harassment
Things were evidently a bit hotter behind the scenes of Cold Pizza than we ever expected. Former hair stylist Rita Ragone says host Jay Crawford and sportswriter Woody Paige groped and propositioned her off-air showering her with raunchy sex talk more fit for a locker room than a TV studio.
Ragone says in a suit filed yesterday in Manhattan Federal Court that she was fired in April 2006 after ESPN execs ignored her complaints and warned her that the on-air talent was "untouchable."
At one point, she said in court papers, Paige grabbed her rear end so hard that she jumped.
"Hey, quit it," she scolded him.
Another time, Crawford forced her into a corner and told her that he wanted her, she says.
"I don't care if you can do makeup or not....The only reason that you got the job here is because you're hot," Crawford is quoting as saying.
"Wanna see what's in my pants?" one of them wondered. The court papers don't specify who made the remark.
And, Ragone claims, Paige bragged about his vasectomy and once elicited a chuckle from others by musing that "Rita looks like she's really good at giving b--- jobs" when she walked into a room.
"It is not true," Paige, a columnist with The Denver Post and frequent "Cold Pizza" contributor, said in a terse e-mail to the Daily News.
"This suit is without merit, and we deny the allegations," said ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys.
"Cold Pizza" was taken off the air in May and replaced with "First Take," also hosted by Crawford.