July 22 (UPI) -- NFL owner and U.S. Ambassador to Britain Robert "Woody" Johnson on Wednesday denied allegations he made racist and sexist remarks that prompted a watchdog investigation.
"I have followed the ethical rules and requirements of my office at all times. These false claims of insensitive remarks about race and gender are totally inconsistent with my longstanding record and values," he posted on his official ambassador Twitter account.
One source described Johnson's comments about women's appearance as "cringeworthy," while others said they had difficulty getting him to participate in an event for International Women's Day. CNN reported that Johnson didn't directly deny allegations when the outlet asked him about them.
The sources said Johnson held meetings at a men-only club in London but was told to stop in 2018 because female diplomats wouldn't be able to attend. He also allegedly said he preferred hiring women because they worked harder for less pay than men.
One source said Johnson appeared uncomfortable attending a Black History Month event at the U.S. Embassy, asking if those in attendance would be "a whole bunch of Black people." He also allegedly said he didn't know why there should be a month to celebrate Black history.
Unnamed sources also told CNN that Johnson attempted to use his position as a diplomat to benefit President Donald Trump's personal business, specifically the Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland. The president allegedly asked Johnson to pressure the British government to hold the British Open golf tournament at the location.
The New York Times confirmed the allegations citing three unnamed sources.
Reporters asked Trump about the allegations during a news conference at the White House on Wednesday afternoon. He denied them.
"I never spoke to Woody Johnson about that," he said.
Sources told the Times that Johnson's deputy, Lewis Lukens, warned the ambassador not to push the issue because it was unethical, but that Johnson brought it up to Scottish Secretary of State David Mundell.
Mundell told the Times that he wouldn't comment on the story, but pointed to a British government statement that said Johnson "made no request of Mr. Mundell regarding the British Open or other sporting event."
Lukens allegedly notified State Department officials of the incident and Johnson ousted the career diplomat a few months later.