Wed Aug 12 3:17pm ET
By BEN FOX
WASHINGTON (AP) A report Wednesday by the State Department's internal watchdog confirms news accounts that staffers at the U.S. Embassy in Britain have accused Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets and the U.S. ambassador, of making ''insensitive'' and ''inappropriate'' remarks.
The department's Office of the Inspector General called for further investigation into the allegations against Johnson, a friend and campaign contributor to President Donald Trump.
Johnson denies the allegations. State Department officials replied to the watchdog office that no further investigation is necessary because Johnson is ''well aware of his responsibility to set the right tone for his mission,'' according to the report.
While the Office of the Inspector General said it continues to believe the State Department should further examine Johnson's alleged conduct, the State Department said it considers the matter closed.
''We stand by Ambassador Johnson and look forward to him continuing to ensure our special relationship with the UK is strong,'' it said in a written response to a request for comment on the report.
The report provides no details about the alleged comments by Johnson, which officials learned about during a periodic review of the embassy. It said that employees alleged that the ambassador ''sometimes made inappropriate or insensitive comments on topics generally considered Equal Employment Opportunity sensitive, such as religion, sex, or color.''
Two current U.S. officials told The Associated Press in July that they had witnessed or were aware of behavior by Johnson that colleagues had found to be bullying or demeaning.
One former embassy employee said Johnson's questionable behavior and comments toward and about women and minorities were not isolated and were witnessed by numerous staffers on a weekly, if not daily, basis. That former employee and the other officials were not authorized to discuss the ongoing inspector general report and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The current and former officials said Johnson had questioned the need for events marking Black History Month, which is traditionally commemorated by U.S. diplomatic missions abroad, had hosted embassy events at a private men-only London club against the advice of embassy colleagues, and made disparaging remarks about women's appearances.
Those allegations emerged as Johnson's former deputy at the embassy alleged the ambassador had also tried to intervene with British government officials at the president's request to steer the British Open golf tournament to Trump's Turnberry resort in Scotland.
The investigation report released Wednesday does not address the allegation related to the British Open, which Trump and Johnson have denied.
Johnson told the inspector general investigators that he has throughout his professional life ''respected both the law and the spirit'' of the principles in the department's equal employment opportunity regulations and has ensured that all employees working for him do as well. He said he reviewed a video on workplace conduct after learning of the allegations against him.
He suggested that the watchdog office not include the recommendations related to the alleged remarks in its report, investigators said. They said Johnson cited the lack of any formal complaints against him as ambassador and the ''generally positive tone'' of the broader review of embassy operations.
''If I have unintentionally offended anyone in the execution of my duties, I deeply regret that, but I do not accept that I have treated employees with disrespect or discriminated in any way,'' he said.
Johnson, who was confirmed to the ambassador post in August 2017, raised money for Trump's presidential campaign and donated $1 million to the president's inaugural committee. He is chair and CEO of The Johnson Co., a private asset management firm in New York and has owned the Jets football team since 2000.
Sunday Morning Update: Week 3
Indianapolis Colts LB Darius Leonard posted a total of 11 stops with a tackle for loss and a pass defensed in Week 3 against the New York Jets.
Indianapolis Colts CB T.J. Carrie finished with four tackles, a pass defensed and a 47-yard interception return for touchdown in Week 3 against the New York Jets.
Indianapolis Colts CB Xavier Rhodes finished with a solo tackle, two passes defensed and a 44-yard interception return for touchdown in Week 3 against the New York Jets.
Indianapolis Colts DE Justin Houston finished with a solo tackle, a sack, a tackle for loss, a quarterback hit and a safety in Week 3 against the New York Jets.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (hamstring) caught five of his six targets for 64 yards and a touchdown before exiting with a hamstring injury in a 28-10 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: A week after being sidelined with a concussion, Godwin now has another injury to deal with. If he misses more time going forward, Scott Miller could vault into flex territory.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans caught a pair of one-yard touchdowns in a 28-10 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: It has been a strange season for Evans, who has sandwiched a pair of two-yard performances between a 100-yard game. He has scored in all three games, but Evans will need to see an increase in volume if he is going to finish as a WR1.
New York Jets WR Braxton Berrios registered four receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown on his six targets in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts.
Fantasy Spin: Berrios helped pick up some of the slack with Jamison Crowder inactive due to an injury. That's two games and two scores for Berrios, who is likely to be a hot add off the waiver wire this season. He is worth grabbing as a WR5 in fantasy leagues of 12 or more teams.
New York Jets TE Chris Herndon posted three catches for 21 yards on five targets in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts.
Fantasy Spin: Herndon opened with six grabs in Week 1, but he has managed just four catches for 26 yards on nine targets in his past two outings. That type of production isn't good for anyone in fantasy.
New York Jets S Bradley McDougald registered 10 total stops with five solo tackles in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts.
New York Jets QB Sam Darnold completed 17-of-29 passes for 168 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts. He also ran five times for 20 yards.
Fantasy Spin: Darnold was without Jamison Crowder, and he was also without Le'Veon Bell for the second straight game. It didn't help not having two of his best offensive weapons, but he simply made too many mistakes. The Jets have a quick turnaround, facing the Denver Broncos on Thursday in Week 4. Darnold cannot be trusted for fantasy purposes.
New York Jets RB Frank Gore ran 15 times for 57 yards in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts and he added one reception for five yards on his only target.
Fantasy Spin: Gore has been picking up the slack with Le'Veon Bell inactive for a second straight game due to a hamstring injury. While Gore is getting a majority of the backfield touches ahead of La'Mical Perine and Kalen Ballage, it might only be a matter of time before Adam Gase elects to try the younger players. Fantasy buyer beware.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones rushed 13 times for 53 yards and caught two of his four targets for 20 yards in a 28-10 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: While it wasn't an overwhelming stat line, but after Leonard Fournette had a big Week 2, Jones resumed the lead role, leading all backs in carries and touches. The chances of Jones breaking into the RB2 ranks this year seem slim, but he should have value as a flex option.
Updating a previous report, Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert (ankle) is expected to miss some time after leaving the Week 3 game against the Cincinnati Bengals due to an ankle injury. He will have an MRI Monday, Sept. 28.
Fantasy Spin: With Goedert likely to miss time, Zach Ertz will once again suck up all of the tight end targets, and might re-emerge as a bona fide TE1 in fantasy after having to share the wealth in the first three games this season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady completed 25 of his 38 passes for 297 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-10 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: Brady had his best performance as a Buccaneer, but until he strings together a few strong outings, the veteran should still be treated as a matchup-based streaming option.
Los Angeles Chargers WR Mike Williams (hamstring) suffered a hamstring injury in Week 3 against the Carolina Panthers and he was unable to return.
Fantasy Spin: That explains his lack of usage in the home loss to the Panthers. He managed just one catch for 17 yards on one target We'll know more about his status for Week 4 once practice resumes on Wednesday.
Carolina Panthers CB Donte Jackson (toe) left the Week 3 game against the Los Angeles Chargers due to a toe injury.
New Orleans Saints TE Jared Cook (ankle) left the Week 3 game against the Green Bay Packers. He headed for the medical tent initially, then was taken to the locker room.
Fantasy Spin: If Cook is unable to return, it will be Josh Hill likely handling Cook's workload. We'll update his injury status as soon as possible.
The Carolina Panthers Defense capitalized in Week 3 against a team starting a rookie quarterback on the Chargers. Carolina notched two sacks, eight quarterback hits, one pick, and three fumble recoveries. While this was an encouraging performance for a team that gave up over 30 points in the first two games, this type of performance should not be expected each week. The Panthers' defense is still a very young and inexperienced unit, and they face a tough test in a rising Cardinals team next week.
Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen caught three of his five targets for 29 yards and a touchdown in a 31-30 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: The touchdown salvaged an otherwise quiet afternoon, and since a monster performance in Week 1, Thielen has just six catches for 60 yards in the last two games. He still has WR2 upside, but with Kirk Cousins struggling, boom-or-bust production could become the norm.
Minnesota Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph caught two of his three targets for 11 yards and a touchdown in a 31-30 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: It has been a quiet season for Rudolph, and he is sitting on four catches for 39 yards and a score after three games. He is a touchdown-dependent TE2.