PNiA Player Jaclynn Moskow Launches Sexism, Racism Complaints Against Show Execs
Cable-broadcast show Poker Night in America has found itself at the center of a storm of controversy following the publication of allegations of sexist and racist behavior and speech involving some of the show’s executives. Former PNiA player Dr. Jaclynn Moskow went public with her allegations against at least two of the show’s top brass involving happenings in conjunction with her initial appearance on the cash-game show, in November of 2014.
Moskow’s initial allegations include a claim of unwanted, sexual-oriented physical contact from the show’s former creative director, Nolan Dalla, as well as an alleged anti-Semitic comment from the show’s on-screen host, Chris Hanson. (Moskow is Jewish.) Moskow also cited at least three other incidents of alleged improper behavior from show execs, staff and participants, both from the Pittsburgh gathering and a subsequent filmed PNiA game in Florida in early 2015.
Moskow, most well known an online cash-game player, was invited to the late-2014 filming of the PNiA’s “Ladies Night” session in Pittsburgh. Moskow’s most serious claims involve interactions at a post-filming party at a Pittsburgh-area bar. Moskow claimed Dalla “motorboated” her – a loosely-defined term referring to a man pushing his face into a woman’s cleavage – and claimed that Hanson stated that “The thing about Poker Night that makes it so great is that there are no Jews. Every other show on TV has Jews.”
Moskow also reiterated that she returned to Hanson a day or so later and clarified that he made the statement, then informed him that she was Jewish herself. The clarification seems to dispel any possibility that he might have said “juice,” in a possible reference, as social-media commenters tried to infer, to rake-free poker.
Moskow made additional claims about the antagonistic attitude of the show’s founder and president, Todd Anderson, a sexist aside allegedly tossed her way by pro and PNiA participant Shaun Deeb, and an unidentified PNiA cameraman who allegedly pinched Moskow’s behind at the Florida tapings.
The publication of the claims on Moskow’s blog was quickly followed with a vehement denial by Dalla of Moskow’s version of events. Dalla also departed the PNiA operation in early 2016. It is not known if the threat of a legal dispute involving Moskow, which first emerged just weeks prior, had an impact on Dalla’s PNiA departure.
Hanson, the show’s host, has not issued a public statement regarding Moskow’s claims, nor is he likely to in the near future. Both Dalla and Hanson appear to have retained the services of attorney and poker player Linda Kenney Baden, who issued a brief press advisory about her pending representation of the pair. Kenney Baden also participated in the late-2014 “Ladies Night” PNiA game in Pittsburgh.
Events continue to unfold. This initial report covers only the basics of the dispute, without regard to the heated debate that has lit up social media this weekend.
Moskow, a non-practicing doctor of osteopathy, appeared on the “Poker Life” podcast to buttress her claims, offering selections of phone texts and e-mails supporting her allegations. One of texts includes an exchange with Chris Capra of 888 Poker, a PNiA sponsor. In her blog, Moskow claimed that Capra witnessed at least some of the offending behavior, and the exchange between Capra and Moskow aired on the Poker Life podcast shows Capra admitting that something had occurred, though Capra’s portion of the exchange does not mention specifics. Capra has also not issued any statement in response to Moskow’s now-public allegations.
The one Poker Night in America party who has issued an official response to date is PNiA president Anderson. Anderson posted the following last night:
Statement Regarding Dr. Jaclynn Moskow
On May 25, 2016, Dr. Jaclynn Moskow made certain allegations involving former and current members of the Poker Night in America (PNiA) team from November 2014 on her blog. She subsequently appeared on an internet podcast to discuss the allegations. We take these allegations very seriously and have investigated Dr. Moskow’s claims including talking to the alleged witnesses over the past several months. To date, we’ve been unable to substantiate her allegations. PNiA did offer Dr. Moskow the equivalent of two cash buy-ins, plus travel expenses with the possibility of her playing at future PNiA events, since she had expressed an interest in doing so. Dr. Moskow responded by asking for a $100,000 cash settlement which we declined. At PNiA, we have zero tolerance for harassment, discrimination or intimidation of any kind. We are proud of our track record of promoting women in poker, and we take that responsibility very seriously. We regret that Dr. Moskow had a negative experience with PNiA and we wish her the best in the future.
Poker Night in America
Anderson had made one brief comment before this notice, stating on Twitter, soon after Moskow published her allegations, “Ahhhhh I just love the smell of napalm in the morning…. “
The value of the offer made by PNiA to Moskow as a settlement, despite the claim that her allegations could not be substantiated, was $15,000. A separately released e-mail between Moskow and another PNiA representative showing the same offer and counter-offer numbers has also been made public, with Moskow herself confirming the negotiations and offers.
Early in 2016, negotiations between the two sides appear to have stalemated, and in February and March, Moskow made oblique references on social-media to a large, pending story, which she followed up with the publication of her assertions this week. Moskow has not, to date, announced the filing of any formal legal complaints against the show’s production company or any of the individuals allegedly involved.
FlushDraw will provide updates to the story as new information becomes available.