Dannon has cut ties with Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, citing his “sexist” behavior during a press conference Wednesday. Newton had previously been one of the company’s spokesmen for Oikos Greek yogurt.
The decision to part with Newton comes in the wake of a growing backlash over the quarterback’s treatment of a female reporter. As Deadspin reported, Newton was asked by reporter Jourdan Rodrigue a fairly routine question about routes. Before answering, Newton giggled, bemused by the question—or, rather, who it was coming from.
“It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes,” Newton said.
Rodrigue, who covers the Panthers for the Charlotte Observer, later pointed out on social media that it wasn’t “funny,” it was her job. She also claimed that she spoke with Newton afterward, and the conversation “was worse.”
The reporter also came under fire after the exchange for offensive tweets she had posted years ago, in which she used the n word and professed a love for racist jokes.
Dannon had brought on Newton because the company hoped to expand its market to include fitness-minded men.
According to the News & Observer, the company had this to say about its decision to part with Newton:
We are shocked and disheartened at the behavior and comments of Cam Newton towards Jourdan Rodrigue, which we perceive as sexist and disparaging to all women. It is entirely inconsistent with our commitment to fostering equality and inclusion in every workplace. It’s simply not OK to belittle anyone based on gender. We have shared our concerns with Cam and will no longer work with him.
But Newton’s agent, Carlos Fleming, contests Dannon’s statement. He told NFL Insider Ian Rappaport that Dannon “has not terminated the agreement, nor do they have grounds to,” according to the Observer.
Newton’s other endorsement deals include Under Armour, Gatorade and Beats by Dre.