Dannon Ends Ad Deal With Panthers' Cam Newton After Sexist Comment
By Suzanne Vranica
Yogurt maker Dannon Co. said it is ending its sponsor agreement with Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton after he made a sexist comment to a female reporter.
During a press conference Wednesday, Jourdan Rodrigue, a Panthers beat reporter for the Charlotte Observer, asked a question about the route-running of Panthers receiver Devin Funchess.
"It's funny to hear a female talk about routes," Mr. Newton said in response, smiling widely, before answering the question.
The comment set off a firestorm of debate on social media. Ms. Rodrigue tweeted: "I don't think it's 'funny' to be a female and talk about routes. I think it's my job."
Dannon, which has aired TV commercials for its Oikos line of Greek yogurt that starred Mr. Newton, said it was severing ties with the quarterback because of his remarks.
"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," Dannon said in a statement. "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."
Mr. Newton's agent, Carlos Fleming of WME/IMG, disputed the statement that the quarterback's sponsorship relationship with the yogurt maker had ended.
"Dannon did not drop Cam. He is still under contract. They did not terminate him," Mr. Fleming said in an email, adding that the company is still paying Mr. Newton.