Ex-NFL Player Settles Harassment Suit Against Celeb-Backed Startup for Just $50K

A former NFL player will receive $51,456 as part of a nearly $400,000 settlement related to discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuits against a Paris Hilton-backed metaverse startup, the company claims.

As The Daily Beast reported, former Oakland Raiders tight end Teyo Johnson accused Everyrealm co-founder Janine Yorio of pressuring him into playing “sexual harassing ‘games,’” spreading rumors about his sex life, and referring to him using slurs like “the whitest Black person.”

But in June, Yorio filed a libel suit against Johnson over a Twitter video in which Johnson claimed he “wasn’t offered equity [in Everyrealm], while similarly situated white employees were.”

Yorio’s complaint also leveled a cascade of unflattering accusations against Johnson, claiming that he “refused to collaborate with women who had more experience than him and referred to one of them as a “crazy bitch.”

“He fell asleep at his desk, did not know how to use Microsoft Office, sent emails full of typos, and claimed that deals were done when they weren’t,” the lawsuit alleged.

“Mr. Johnson never reported any kind of racial discrimination or sexual harassment during his three months at the company,” the suit continued. “Because it never happened.”

Earlier this month, the parties announced a settlement in the discrimination suit, which is expected to end the libel suit. Two similar lawsuits filed by Everyrealm ex-staffers were also settled.

A spokesperson for Yorio told The Daily Beast this week that Johnson settled for only $51,000. “Mr. Johnson and his cohorts demanded $7.4 million, but he walked away with $51,456,” Yorio’s representative said. “Paying this is well worth avoiding any further time wasted on this sham of a lawsuit.”

But a source with knowledge told The Daily Beast that it’s inaccurate to say Johnson settled for that amount. Johnson, the source said, received more than $100,000—or about a year of his Everyrealm salary—before taxes and attorney’s fees.

According to a settlement agreement reviewed by The Daily Beast, Johnson and two other former employees together received a $375,000 payout.

The resolution of the cases puts an end to Everyrealm’s apparent office drama spilling into public view. (“It was an unhealthy workplace,” one former employee previously told The Daily Beast.)

Johnson’s counsel, Shane Seppinni, had previously argued in a legal filing that Everyrealm’s proof of Johnson’s equity offer did not “substantively change” the claim that “he was paid less on account of his race.”

This year, the judge ruled that a new law barring the arbitration of sexual harassment disputes allowed the other claims in Johnson’s complaint to move forward in court, too.

After Johnson’s settlement was announced earlier this month, Seppinni sent a statement to Law360 on his behalf.

“Statements made in the heat of litigation do not necessarily reflect reality, and this case is no exception,” said Johnson, a former tight end for the Oakland Raiders. “I regret the harm this has caused Janine Yorio, Everyrealm and its employees.”

Earlier this year, Yorio told The Daily Beast that Johnson’s and his colleagues’ lawsuits amounted to “legal terrorism” and “a shakedown disguised as wrongful termination suits.”

“Against repeated advice,” she said at the time, “I remain staunchly opposed to ‘writing a check’ to make these baseless lawsuits go away.”


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