Jared Porter wasn’t the only employee the Mets fired in January over allegations of sexual harassment. The team revealed a second dismissal on Wednesday after details of the case were published by The Athletic. According to that report, Ryan Ellis, an organizational hitting coordinator, made explicit and threatening overtures to at least three female team employees, who initially told the club’s human resources department about his behavior in 2018.
The Mets said in a statement on Wednesday that the case had been investigated at the time and Ellis was placed on probation and sent for counseling, but was allowed to continue in his work with the team. But after Porter, the former general manager, was fired on Jan. 19 for sending lewd texts and photos to a female reporter, “new information” regarding Ellis came to light and he was fired a few days later.
“We immediately commenced a new investigation and terminated the employee on January 22 for violating company policy and failure to meet the Mets’ standards for professionalism and personal conduct,” the statement said. “We believe the complaints were investigated properly by our H.R. personnel and in accordance with our reporting procedures at that time.”
It is the third sexual harassment case involving Mets employees to come to light this year. After Porter was fired, it was revealed that Mickey Callaway, the former manager of the Mets, was accused of harassing female reporters during his tenure with several teams, including the Mets. Callaway was fired by the Mets after the 2019 season and is currently suspended from his role as the pitching coach of the Los Angeles Angels, pending a full investigation.
Luis Rojas, the manager of the Mets, worked with Ellis for years in the Mets’ minor league system. He said on Wednesday that he had no knowledge of Ellis’s behavior and noted that in the time since the incidents were first reported, the team was purchased by Steven Cohen, who promised to root out such unacceptable behavior after Porter was fired.
“We set new expectations and there’s also new avenues to report cases like this,” Rojas said on a video conference call with reporters. “It’s been disappointing. I’m sorry to see it from afar. When you see reports of this news, it’s upsetting.”
According to The Athletic, Ellis told one of the employees that he wanted “to put her up against a wall,” and made other disturbing and inappropriate comments. Ellis could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Mets said that after Ellis was investigated before there were no further complaints against him, presumably until the “new information” surfaced following Porter’s dismissal.
“In July 2018, a complaint regarding inappropriate conduct by a Mets employee was brought to the attention of Mets management at that time,” the team statement said. “The organization initiated an investigation and, as a result, the employee was disciplined, put into a probationary status, and ordered into counseling. We had not received previous or subsequent complaints about this employee.”
Ellis had worked for the Mets since 2006, mostly dealing with minor league players. He was promoted to help the major league coaching staff last year when hitting instructor Chili Davis opted out of the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Rojas said Ellis’s temporary promotion last year was a result of his knowledge of the players on the team at the time and because he was the “next guy up.” But he said the team cannot tolerate inappropriate behavior.
“Those misconducts, they are just unacceptable,” Rojas said of the allegations against Ellis. “We should have a safe environment to work; a safe workplace, and everyone should feel safe around here.”