Nine months ago, most of America had never heard of Brooke Hundley.
But then a tabloid detailed her steamy affair with baseball analyst and former general manager Steve Phillips, a married man. Both Hundley and Phillips were fired from their jobs at ESPN. Now, Hundley is suing, saying she suffered emotional distress.
The scandal made for damaging headlines, CBS News correspondent Jeff Glor reports. Brooke Hundley, a 22-year-old production assistant at ESPN, was having an affair with one of the network's baseball analysts, Steve Phillips, former general manager of the New York Mets.
Phillips had been married to his wife Marni for 19 years.
His affair with Hundley began after a meeting at major league baseball's all star weekend last July, Hundley 24-years Phillips' junior.
Phillips claims when he tried to end the relationship a month later, Hundley turned to stalking, sending Marni Phillips a letter detailing lurid sexual encounters and describing birthmarks on her husband's body.
Hundley wrote Marni Phillips, "I am the woman he's been seeing for a while now."
Marni Phillips claims Hundley even drove to their Connecticut home, leading her to call 911.
In her call, she said, "I have a crazy woman who is involved with my husband and she's come to my house to harm me and my children."
Once the affair became public, details of Phillips' private life became a favorite target of tabloids and late night talk shows.
Jay Leno said on his show, "I realize you can't have steak everyday but...please!"
ESPN fired Phillips, saying his reputation had been quote: "Significantly and irreparably damaged."
Brooke Hundley was also dismissed due to quote "misconduct." She is now suing the sports network for at least $15,000 dollars in damages from lost wages, emotional distress, and damage to her reputation.
Richard Hayber, Hundley's attorney, told CBS News, "It may be that ESPN is more concerned about their own public image than they were about Mrs. Hundley's rights. You'll have to ask them."
In a statement to CBS News, ESPN says, "Hundley's claims are without merit and we will vigorously defend against them."
But Hundley said in an exclusive interview with "The Early Show" that she's suing the company in part because employees at the network didn't act on her initial claims of Phillips' harassment.
Hundley told "Early Show" co-anchor Erica Hill, "When all of this happened initially in July, when the first sort of casual friendship between, you know, a senior-level person and a low-level employee had sort of crossed the line from, 'I'm just interested in knowing who you are and what your story is' and 'How come we don't work as directly with each other as some of the other crew members do.' When it crossed the line into inappropriate questioning, touching, physical contact, solicitations for, you know, inappropriate actions, I immediately reported it to his supervisor, who then dismissed my claims, told me to get used to it (and) basically explained that this was just what the women dealt with around this company. And even later, at an additional point reiterated the fact that I should not be telling other people about this. That women tend to look bad in these situations."
Harrassment, Hundley said she was told by female supervisors, is just part of the culture at ESPN.
Hundley said, "I went to a couple of different female supervisors and just sort of explained to them how I'm dealing with harassment from a member of the talent. And they just told me a story about how they had been sexually harassed. It was almost as if, 'You have been officially initiated. We all have a story to tell. This is just the culture.' They never felt any responsibility to report it to anyone higher than them. They thought the best teaching tool was to tell me to, you know, suck it up."
But Hundley signed a settlement with ESPN. Now she's suing. Why?
Hundley explained, "I signed the settlement a month before this became public news. When it was just Steve bringing concerns about me to ESPN. They opened an investigation. They asked me, you know, questions about his complaints. I showed them text messages, proof that many of his statements were inaccurate. They eventually decided, and speaking with both of our attorneys, we all decided that the best idea was to do a settlement between me and Steve where any sort of liability for his actions would be cleared. The only thing that ESPN -- I didn't get a dime from ESPN -- the only thing ESPN asked was not to be liable for any sexual harassment claims, in turn I would keep my job. So we went back to work for month. Steve was asked not to come to campus, only work on remote games."
But then later on, Hundley ended up being fired.
She now says it's impossible for her to get a job because she was fired for misconduct.
Hundley said, "(ESPN is) saying I failed to comply with the investigation, a investigation that was closed for over a month, and I continued to work. There was nothing in my, you know, daily work ethic or anything in my duties on the job that promoted me being fired. So, their claims, I can't support to any future employers to explain why I was terminated from that position."
As for Phillips' allegations of stalking and ESPN's statements, Hundley says she's trying to clear her name with the lawsuit. She said nothing about her actions had to do with her work at the company.
"There were many opportunities for ESPN to get involved to keep it from sort of spiraling out of control. Only when my claims were continuously dismissed, and I was told basically to deal with this on my own, that I tried to deal with it on my own. Obviously, it spiraled out of control. I made some really dumb decisions. As a 22-year-old, not knowing who else to go to, who else to turn to."
Hundley said she regrets what happened. "I got people involved who never should have been involved. I should have been yelling and screaming as loud as I could to anybody in the company, rather than going to personal family."
Hundley offered this advice to people who are sexually harassed: "Literally just keep going to people until someone is willing to hear you out, until someone is willing to say, 'You know what, you're right, this is inappropriate, we're going to do action.' I don't care who you need to go to, but do it within the company."
Hundley said ESPN's termination is affecting her chances to get another job. She says she still has recommendations from supervisors and associates at ESPN, but that they're not enough when she's in a job interview and all she has is a letter of termination for misconduct.
Copyright 2010 CBS. All rights reserved.