Accusations of Sexual Harassment Mar WSOP

June 6th, 2018 | by Kaycee James

Certain vendors at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) have come under fire for what some players believe to be aggressive and lewd selling tactics.

WSOP vendors.

Certain vendors inside the hallways of the Rio have been accused of sexual harassment. (Image: avi-rubin.blogspot.com)

Allegations of insults and sexual harassment from sellers inside the Rio were first brought to light by professional poker player and YouTuber, Joe Ingram. After witnessing what he’s described as “verbal harassment,” Ingram posted a video about his thoughts on the presence at the series.

“If you say no or you ignore them, they mock you, there is sarcasm thrown your way, they make fun of you. If you’re a woman, they’re going to sexually harass you and say things like baby why don’t you smile for me,” Ingram explained in his June 4 video.

Players Back Ingram

In an effort to qualify his own observations, the vocal pro claims he spoke to a number of his peers at the WSOP and received similar feedback. Industry reporter and poker player Kristy Arnett was quick to comment on Ingram’s YouTube video, saying that the guys selling phone chargers made her feel “super uncomfortable.”

Since the video went live, the owner of iGadget Planet Mark Agarunov (the company called out by Ingram) has told Pokernews that Ingram’s comments are “100 percent lies.” While that may be up for debate, a number of WSOP attendees have come out in support of the claims.

“I was only there for the first five days and those assholes were redic! I can’t believe they get away w/ talking that way,” Alex Aguilar tweeted on June 6.

An Ongoing Issue at the WSOP

Although Ingram’s video has shone light on the issue at this year’s WSOP, it’s not the first time this has happened. Reading through previews comments online, a number of players reported similar levels of abuse during the 2017 series.

“Could you please tell hall vendors to not cat call? Have spoken directly to multiple stations. Need your help on this @WSOPTD @WSOP,” Sasha Barrese wrote on Twitter back in June 2017.

“They’re the absolute worst. I feel like I need to take a shower after bc they’re so slimy about it,” @dreaaathomas tweeted in response to Barrese’s complaint.

For its part, The WSOP has responded and said that it would monitor the situation. Providing a comment to Pokernews, Caesars vice president of corporate communications Seth Palansky said his company has a “zero-tolerance policy” on sexual harassment.

As an organization, the WSOP doesn’t have the power to fire individual employees from another company. However, if reports of sexual harassment continue throughout the summer and sufficient evidence can be provided, Palansky has promised to terminate the contracts of the companies responsible.

 

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