New York Jets owner and U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Woody Johnson, reportedly recently came under investigation for comments he is alleged to have made that were deemed racist and sexist. According to a Wednesday report by CNN, he was also investigated for using his official government position to benefit President Donald Trump’s personal business in the U.K.
The news reported that multiple sources said Johnson made numerous generalizations about Black men over the years. He also allegedly questioned why the Black community celebrates Black History Month. The allegations were confirmed by multiple unnamed sources including at least one diplomat who had knowledge of the government’s investigation into the ambassador.
One person said Johnson’s comments about women were “cringeworthy.” It was also said to be very difficult to get him to support an event he was supposed to attend in an official capacity for International Women’s Day.
When Johnson was asked about the investigation and whether he had made derogatory statements, he didn’t deny them. It doesn’t appear he addressed the claims at all. Instead, the Jets’ part-owner talked about what a privilege it has been to work for the State Department. He added the men and women he works with are some of the best in the world.
When contacted about the Inspector General allegedly investigating Johnson, the State Department spokesperson said they stood by him and wanted to make sure the United States continued to have a strong relationship with the U.K.
A spokesperson from the U.S. Embassy in London also didn’t deny the report, according to CNN, but instead said Johnson was focusing on his duties in the country.
It’s not clear how much the Inspector General is investigating has to do with Johnson’s supposed racist and sexist comments. The IG is said to also be looking into what kind of pressure the ambassador exerted over United Kingdom officials in order to try and get the British Open — a prestigious professional golf tournament — to be played at Trump’s Turnberry resort.
Sources told CNN reporters that politicians would have almost no say over where the British Open is played. The idea that a member of the Trump administration would use their official position in order to directly benefit the president’s business reportedly raised eyebrows inside the State Department IG’s office.
Reports about Johnson’s allegedly racist statements came after the Jets’ front office appeared to go out of its way to stand with its players who want to protest against perceived racial and social injustices, including police violence against minorities. Johnson’s son and the team’s CEO Christopher Johnson announced in May of 2018 that the team would pay any NFL fines that players might accrue for kneeling during the National Anthem.