An ex-NFL tight end will get to have his day in federal court against real estate startup Everyrealm over claims of race discrimination and sexual harassment. Teyo Johnson, who is a former Canadian football player who played for the Oakland Raiders between 2003 and 2004, has alleged that Everyrealm CEO Janin Yorio was a leader in a problematic work environment, making inappropriate comments regarding the sex lives of staff members. Mr. Johnson further alleged that Ms. Yorio made racist comments towards several black employees.
Mr. Johnson’s suit also alleges that Yorio pressured him into ‘sexually harassing games’ in which coworkers and clients were encouraged to sleep with each other.
But Johnson's lawsuit is just one of three filed against the virtual reality company, accusing Yorio of sexually harassing black employees and subjecting them to racial remarks — even once threatening to 'trade' Johnson if he did not perform his job.
Together, they are seeking $1.9million in damages from the Andreessen Horowitz-backed company that 'invests in and develops virtual worlds.'
According to the suit, Yorio used the euphemisms 'KYP,' meaning 'know your personnel,' and 'KYC,' meaning 'know your client,' to signify 'having sex or hooking up with your coworkers and business partners.'
Yorio allegedly told Johnson, who worked as the company's director of strategic partnerships, that 'the way to play the game' was to 'get laid by a coworker on a business trip.' With her comments, Yorio was implying that Mr. Johnson was encouraged to ‘hook up’ with co-workers. Johnson then politely informed Yorio that he was in a relationship, but later this same evening, Johnson alleges that Yorio went to his hotel room in Austin and ‘insinuated in no uncertain terms that she believed he would cheat on his girlfriend to ‘participate in the company’s KYP game.’
The lawsuit also alleges that Yorio made offensive jokes about Johnson’s girlfriend’s menstrual cycle and referred to him as both a ‘stupid black person’ and ‘the whitest black person.’
Mr. Johnson was hired by the company in July 2022, and claims that Yorio then told HR Director Kathy Yost, “Teyo is the whitest black guy I’ve ever met,” only to later insist that she “meant it in a good way.” Yost also recounted the interaction in her own lawsuit. Shortly after, Johnson says, he learned he was the lowest paid director in the company.
Later, when Johnson met Lebron James’ entertainment company, Spring Hills, Yorio allegedly told Johnsons: “You’re lucky that went well, now I don’t have to trade you.”
Ultimately, Johnson claims he was fired in retaliation for blowing the whistle on a potentially illegal cryptocurrency ‘gambling scheme’ involving NFT playing cards of professional soccer players. After he brought his concerns to his supervisors and the NFT project was scrapped, it claims, Yorio ‘soured on’ Johnson, and he wound up in her ‘doghouse,’ which would eventually lead to Johnson’s termination.