Antonio Brown’s corporate sponsors appear to be taking a wait-and-see approach to their business dealings after a second instance of alleged sexual misconduct involving the New England Patriots star surfaced on Monday.
An artist who spoke to Sports Illustrated on condition of anonymity said Brown exposed himself to her in 2017 after hiring her to paint a mural in his Pittsburgh-area home. The allegation surfaced just days after another woman, Brown’s former personal trainer, filed a civil lawsuit accusing Brown of sexual assault and rape during a series of incidents that occurred in 2017 and 2018.
Representatives for Nike and Electronic Arts did not respond to a request for comment on the allegations against Brown, who has appeared in campaigns for both companies. A Pepsi representative said the company no longer has an active endorsement deal with Brown, but did not clarify when the partnership came to an end.
A Facebook representative said the company’s business dealings with Brown ended in 2017, when Brown was briefly tapped to publish content to promote launch of “Facebook Live.” Campbell Soup said its deal with Brown expired in May 2018, while Pizza Hut said its partnership with Brown during the 2018 season had a one-year term and has since expired.
Helmet maker Xenith ended its partnership with Brown, who was set to wear their product on the field this season, just days after the deal was announced. The decision came shortly after the civil lawsuit surfaced. Posts promoting the endorsement deal were deleted from Xenith's social media accounts.
The NFL has an active investigation into the allegations made by Brown’s personal trainer, and league officials are expected to meet with her in the coming days. While the nature of the allegations sparked speculation that Brown could be placed on paid leave pending the outcome of that investigation, Brown made his debut for the Patriots on Sunday, catching four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins. He left after the game without speaking to reporters.
Brown wasn't placed on the commissioner's exempt list in part because no criminal charges have been filed against him, the Associated Press reported, citing two sources familiar with the matter.
Brown’s attorney, Darren Heitner, addressed Sports Illustrated’s report in a statement posted on social media on Monday.
“Antonio Brown has reviewed the sexual misconduct allegations made by an unnamed artist included in a recently published Sports Illustrated article and denies that he ever engaged in such activities. There will be no further comment at this time,” Heitner said.
The Sports Illustrated report detailed various instances of alleged misbehavior or misconduct in Brown’s past, including alleged domestic incidents and unpaid debts.
The artist said Brown commissioned her in June 2017 to paint a mural at his Pittsburgh-area after he spotted a portrait of himself that she had painted while attending a charity auction to support the National Youth Foundation. The woman agreed to the job and said she was initially happy with Brown’s interest in her work.
But after “uncomfortable” flirtations during her first day of work on the mural, the woman alleges that on her second day of work, Brown appeared behind her “naked, with a hand cloth covering his [genitals]” – a move she interpreted as a “clear sexual come-on,” according to the magazine.
“Unfortunately, I’ve been tried [by men] a lot of times, so I just kept my cool and kept painting,” she says. “After that, it all ended abruptly.”
The woman said Brown paid her $2,000 for her two days of work and ceased communication. National Youth Foundation co-founder Sophia Hanson said Brown never paid the $700 he pledged to purchase the painting at the charity event.
In a separate incident detailed by Sports Illustrated, Brown’s former doctor, Victor Prisk, alleges that Brown “fart[ed] in his face” during one consultation in August 2018 and owes him $11,500 in unpaid fees. Prisk is currently suing Brown for the money.
This story has been updated.