| 5 years ago||
speaking of Jay Crawford..this happened awhile back
The pizza may have been cold, but the stars on ESPN's old morning show were overheated, a former employee charges.
A former makeup artist and aromatherapist for "Cold Pizza" says host Jay Crawford and sportswriter Woody Paige groped and propositioned her off-air and treated her to lurid s3x talk more suited to a locker room than a TV studio.
Self-described "Stylist to the Stars" Rita Ragone of the Bronx 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.
Ragone, 42, says Crawford and Paige weren't the only ones who engaged in s3xually charged hijinks backstage. One hair stylist regularly plunked herself down in Paige's lap. Another pulled her brea$t out when model Fabio was the celebrity guest, Ragone alleges.
"Never before had she been confronted with such severe physical and verbal s3xual harassment that was tolerated and condoned by her supervisors and managers," Ragone's lawyer David Zatuchni wrote.
Ragone declined to comment yesterday. Her Web site boasts dozens of famous mugs she's touched up in recent years, including those of ex-President Bill Clinton, Robert De Niro, former Gov. George Pataki and Sean (Diddy) Combs.
The foreword to her upcoming nonfiction work, "The Magical Beauty Book," was penned by Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York.
Ragone was hired to work at the show's Manhattan studios in 2005 by Atlantic Video, an ESPN client. Atlantic is also named as a defendant.