Newly hired Mets general manager Jared Porter admitted on Monday night to sending harassing, explicit texts to a female reporter in 2016 while he was the Chicago Cubs’ director of professional scouting, according to a report by ESPN’s Jeff Passan and Mina Kimes.
Hours later, new Mets owner Steve Cohen announced he had fired Porter.
Porter reportedly sent the woman — who spoke to ESPN on the condition of anonymity — more than 60 unanswered texts at one point before allegedly sending a lewd photo of an erect penis.
Porter, 41, at first denied sending the woman any photos when asked by ESPN, though later said that “the more explicit ones are not of me. Those are like, kinda like joke-stock images.”
The Mets, the Cubs and the Diamondbacks, Porter’s intervening employer, denied knowing about the incident until Monday night. The Mets’ decision to fire Porter was announced via Cohen’s Twitter early Tuesday morning.
We have terminated Jared Porter this morning . In my initial press conference I spoke about the importance of integrity and I meant it.There should be zero tolerance for this type of behavior.
— Steven Cohen (@StevenACohen2) January 19, 2021
Sandy Alderson, the Mets’ president, issued a statement Tuesday morning saying, “Jared’s actions, as reflected by events disclosed last night, failed to meet the Mets’ standards for professionalism and personal conduct.”
Mets GM Jared Porter allegedly harassed female reporter
Porter and the woman — who moved to the United States as a foreign correspondent covering Major League Baseball — met in an elevator at Yankee Stadium in June 2016. They only spoke briefly during that encounter, but exchanged contact information before parting ways.
Porter then started texting the woman later that afternoon, and asked her to get a drink with him three different times that night. She told ESPN that she initially agreed because she thought that Porter was “volunteering himself as a source” and thought that they would be talking baseball.
She eventually canceled, instead asking if they could meet the next day. Porter, though, started asking if she had a boyfriend and sent her an unsolicited selfie.
“Like?” he wrote with the photo.
She didn’t respond.
"If I had a better understanding — not just of the language, but the culture — I definitely would've realized sooner what was going on," she told ESPN.
Porter texted her again the next day, but the two never met up. He started texting her again a few weeks later, and started sending selfies.
He then asked her for a selfie in return, which she obliged — she said sending photos like this is commonplace in her country. That’s when Porter asked if she wanted more in return, a question she said she felt obligated to say yes to.
Porter then sent her three photos, one of which appeared to be his crotch with a very clear bulge.
It took her a moment to realize how sexual the texts had become. Once she did, though, she cut off communication.
Over the next three weeks, Porter then reportedly sent her 62 unanswered texts and multiple photos. He texted her once when they were both at Wrigley Field and said that he saw her there and that she was “so beautiful.” That text, she said, made her feel “panicky” and caused her to hide.
After that string of texts, Porter then texted her asking to meet at a hotel in Los Angeles. The following day, he allegedly sent her a series of texts and 17 photos — one of which was the naked, erect penis.
Reporter asks Porter to stop after seeking help
The woman, per ESPN, eventually showed some of the lewd photos and messages to a player from her home country and an interpreter. They urged her to tell him to stop, and helped write a response.
"This is extremely inappropriate, very offensive, and getting out of line. Could you please stop sending offensive photos or msg."
Porter responded in a series of messages: "Oh I'm sorry."
"I will stop."
"I really apologize." "Please let me know if you ever need anything work wise."
The next day, he texted again: "I'm sorry." A day later, he shared a photo from Dodger Stadium. It was the last message, the woman said, that Porter sent.
The reporter agreed to speak out this week on the condition of anonymity. She has since left journalism and returned to her home country.
"My number one motivation is I want to prevent this from happening to someone else," she said through an interpreter, via ESPN. "Obviously he's in a much greater position of power. I want to prevent that from happening again. The other thing is I never really got the notion that he was truly sorry.
"I know in the U.S. there is a women's empowerment movement. But in [my home country], it's still far behind. Women get dragged through the mud if your name is associated with any type of sexual scandal. Women are the ones who get fingers pointed at them. I don't want to go through the victimization process again. I don't want other people to blame me."
The woman said she developed sleeping and anxiety problems that summer. She finally told her bosses what had been happening, and they connected her with a lawyer and a Cubs employee.
That Cubs employee told ESPN that he had discussed the incident with both the woman and Porter, but that “I was just listening to both. I didn’t want to ruin anything. I didn’t want to be on one side.”
The woman said she has no plans to press charges. She also said she avoided traveling to Arizona the following season, when Porter took a job with the Diamondbacks, to stay away from him. She did see Porter once that postseason before a game, but immediately ran and hid from him.
"Being alone in a different country made it tougher," she told ESPN. "I didn't know who to trust and rely on."
Mets, Cubs, D-backs respond after allegations against Porter
Mets president Sandy Alderson said the team was unaware of Porter's texts with the reporter until Monday night. The team hired Porter on Dec. 13 shortly after Steve Cohen purchased the team.
"I have spoken directly with Jared Porter regarding events that took place in 2016 of which we were made aware tonight for the first time,” Alderson said in a statement to ESPN. “Jared has acknowledged to me his serious error in judgment, has taken responsibility for his conduct, has expressed remorse and has previously apologized for his actions. The Mets take these matters seriously, expect professional and ethical behavior from all of our employees, and certainly do not condone the conduct described in your story. We will follow up as we review the facts regarding this serious issue."
The Cubs issued a similar statement.
"This story came to our attention tonight and we are not aware of this incident ever being reported to the organization."
"Had we been notified, we would have taken swift action as the alleged behavior is in violation of our code of conduct," the team said, via ESPN. "While these two individuals are no longer with the organization, we take issues of sexual harassment seriously and plan to investigate the matter."
The Diamondbacks echoed that they were unaware of the allegations and would have investigated.
The D-backs' statement on Porter:
“We do not condone this behavior and are extremely troubled by the details that have been reported. We were obviously not aware of these allegations from 2016 and had we been, we would have investigated and addressed the situation immediately.”
— Zach Buchanan (@ZHBuchanan) January 19, 2021
Mets owner Steve Cohen tweeted on Tuesday morning that the team has fired Porter. The rapid hiring and dismissal of Porter comes almost exactly one year after the team parted ways with freshly hired manager Carlos Beltran. He never managed a game for the Mets after he became embroiled in the Astros sign-stealing scandal.
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