Since her contract with the Golf Channel ended last month, Lisa Cornwell has alleged in multiple tweets that she both experienced and witnessed mistreatment during her employment with the network.
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The initial tweet, sent Jan. 1, was a calculated one, according to Cornwell, who joined the No Laying Up podcast on Sunday to discuss that mistreatment, which she said ranged from an executive making fun of an anxiety-stricken analyst to a management hierarchy that she felt actively tried to keep her off broadcasts.
Tom Mars, Cornwell’s attorney, was also present during the recording of the podcast. Golf Channel did not respond to No Laying Up’s request for comment according to a statement from host Chris Solomon at the outset of the show.
An NBC Sports spokesperson declined a Golfweek request for comment.
“What I went through, and obviously I made it a female issue, a women issue, is nothing compared to what dozens and dozens of women at that network have faced over the years. That’s first and foremost to me,” explained Cornwell. “This isn’t about being a victim.”
Cornwell’s first allegation against the network stemmed from an incident at the the 2016 NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon, during a dinner with coworkers.
“The person leading that dinner, and there’s 15 people there, he’s the head of Golf Central. We have a new analyst who’s had some anxiety issues on air, and he’s basically making fun of him. I stood up, he’s a friend of mine, I said ‘What are we doing? We don’t do this. This isn’t who we are.'”
Her “downhill spiral” with the network came in August of 2018, she said, when she was filling in for an anchor alongside Brandel Chamblee, who she alleges never liked her.
“There is a clear timeline from August 2018 to where things started to shift,” said Cornwell, who admitted to making a mistake on air during that broadcast that she said bothered Chamblee.
She then called senior vice president and executive editor for Golf Channel Geoff Russell – who is married to Molly Solomon, Golf Channel’s executive vice president of content and executive producer – to address the issue. Cornwell aired her grievances to Russell, who said he would make some calls and look into the matter.
In December 2018, Cornwell received a scheduling email with her assignments for the following year, where she had one event in particular circled on her calendar: the 2019 NCAA Championships, hosted by the University of Arkansas. Cornwell played for the Razorbacks and was a four-time Arkansas state champion.
“I had always hosted the women’s NCAAs since I had been at Golf Channel. I get a scheduling email that I would not be the host that year at Arkansas, that I had been demoted to a reporter, and they didn’t even have the guts to tell me.”
When asked if she thought the move was related to the incident a few months prior, Cornwell responded adamantly: “100 percent, how could you justify it?”
Much of the second half of the No Laying Up interview concerns Cornwell’s revelation that last March, she and Mars filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They received a reply from the EEOC and in September, were expected to send a follow-up.
That coincided with an incident in which Cornwell learned from LPGA player Xi Yu Lin (who goes by Janet) and her instructor Tony Ziegler (Cornwell knows both from frequenting many of the same golf courses near her Orlando home) that Lin and her team had been unable to get new Mizuno clubs after a fitting just less than two weeks before the ANA Inspiration, despite many requests.
Lin and her team ended up buying the heads off the rack at an Orlando-located Edwin Watts and attaching overnighted Nippon shafts. Cornwell referenced the Mizuno incident on air after the first round of the ANA Inspiration as a lead-in to her interview with Lin, who was in contention, and also sent a tweet on the subject.
After that round, Cornwell described a heated phone call from Russell over the way it was handled, namely that Cornwell did not call Mizuno to confirm the story before mentioning it on air. Cornwell said she was aware of many other LPGA players who had a similar experience with other equipment companies as Lin.
Golf Channel brought Cornwell home from the event after that round and she did not conduct another post-round LPGA interview on air through the end of the year. Golf Channel also sent a correction concerning Cornwell’s reporting of the Mizuno incident via Twitter. Lin and the club fitter both responded that the correction was not actually correct, and Cornwell said a Golf Channel HR manager admitted the same to her. The tweet remained on Golf Central Twitter anyway.
Cornwell said the events were prominent in her next correspondence with the EEOC.
“A man, in his 60s, who was my boss, screaming and cussing me out and sending me home over a gender-related issue from a women’s golf tournament during the middle of a retaliation, gender-discrimination, EEOC case,” she said on the podcast. “I don’t know what organization allows that to happen but Golf Channel didn’t do anything about it.”
Mars chimes in at the end of the podcast to discuss the gender-discriminatory nature of Cornwell’s claims and other similar allegations against Golf Channel.
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