A team of former Revolt TV producers; Douglas Goodstein, Richard Wilson, Jason Preziosi, Michael Schiff and Todd Baker have sued the Sean Combs (Diddy) owned television station for Employment Discrimination based on race. The suit was filed in a Manhattan Supreme Court last week.
A team of television producers; Douglas Goodstein, Richard Wilson, Jason Preziosi, Michael Schiff and Todd Baker have sued the Sean Combs (Diddy) owned television station, Revolt TV for Employment Discrimination based on race. The suit was filed in a Manhattan Supreme Court last week.
When entertainment mogul Diddy launched Revolt TV in the fall of 2013, he described the network as “the first channel created entirely from the ground up in this new era of social media.” He also stated “We’re building this platform for artists to reach an extraordinary number of people in a completely different way. Revolt will be live, like all great moments in television history.” Revolt TV’s television line-up includes such cutting-edge shows such as: Rapper Noreaga’s “Drink Champs” television show, Snoop’s “GGN” news show and of course the syndicated and popular “Breakfast Club” radio show filmed for television. Obviously, the TV network is aimed at a millennial audience with an ear and eye for the latest in Urban music and culture. Last week, five Caucasian television producers, filed suit against the network, claiming that they were discriminated against and fired for not being a part of this particular group.
The Plaintiffs (all over the age of 39), worked on “The Breakfast Club” shortly after the launch of Revolt. According to Page Six, the Plaintiffs levied several complaints against the show’s Executive Vice President, Val Boreland. The petition claims that Boreland was rude, condescending and dismissive of the white producers and turned a blind eye to unprofessional deeds committed by certain black employees. The suit claims that one production assistant “often came to work late, drunk and slept on the editing floor during work hours.”
However, Val Boreland wasn’t the only individual named as a “reverse racist” in the petition. The Plaintiffs specifically mentioned that Val’s brother and assistant director of the show, Anthony Boreland stated, “Caucasians harbored racism against African-Americans.” Furthermore, the petition goes on to state that production manager Cherisse McKenzie allegedly said that one of the plaintiffs “ just did not understand the ‘culture’ of the show’s guests and on-air personalities.” when he complained about a guest’s lack of punctuality. All of these occurrences created a vile working environment, according to the Plaintiffs. Eventually, the five individuals were fired in December 2014 and were replaced with what the plaintiffs call “inexperienced black workers”. Therefore, a suit was filed, alleging Employment Discrimination.
Per OkPlayer, The Diddy responded to an inquiry via his legal counsel, who issued the following statement:
“These claims are without merit and have previously been dismissed by the EEOC,” he wrote. “Revolt Media and TV, LLC has always been committed to diversity in the workplace and is an equal opportunity employer.”
Under federal law, companies with 15 or more employees are covered by Title VII, the primary law prohibiting employment discrimination, the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination based on genetic information. In addition to federal law, New York State prohibits workplace discrimination based on race, color, religion, sexual orientation and more. The law is commonly referred to as The New York City Human Rights Law (Administrative Code of The City of New York Title 8).
Here, the Plaintiffs are claiming racial discrimination, based on the facts of the case. However, the Plaintiffs have already hit a roadblock in the case. According to New York law, before filing a petition in court, an employee who believes they have been discriminated against must first file a complaint with The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC is the federal agency that regulates workplace discrimination. However, according to an attorney for Revolt TV; “These claims are without merit and have previously been dismissed by the EEOC.” While the EEOC’s final judgment isn’t the deciding factor on whether or not an Employment Discrimination suit is successful, it certainly bolsters a Plaintiff’s case when the EEOC does find discrimination occurred.
Prominent Advocate, Legal Expert, and Attorney Areva Martin spoke to Gotham City Esq. and shared her thoughts:
“Discrimination cases can be difficult to prove in the absence of direct evidence of racial animus. The fact that Revolt hired younger African Americans after the plaintiffs were fired may be inconsequential if Revolt can demonstrate that the terminations were based on performance or another non-discriminatory basis. Although not dispositive, the EEOC dismissal of the case suggests that plaintiffs don’t have substantial evidence to support their claim. These types of lawsuits are expensive to litigate and or frequently settled out of court with confidentiality agreements which prevent either side from disclosing settlement terms.”
Finally, reports of “The Breakfast Club” being named in the suit were false.
Charlamagne, one of the irreverent hosts of the show, weighed in on the Page Six article, on his personal Instagram page stating:
“Man this is hilarious to me. For the record they suing Revolt TV and talking about Revolt TV not Power 105 or “The Breakfast Club” but this article is still hilarious!!!! Lawsuit says “The white people got fired for not knowing the culture” I mean most executives at all these companies don’t know the culture and need to be fired but that’s not the point. I been laughing for 10 minutes straight. Please make the distinction between Revolt TV, Power 105 and the Breakfast Club we are not the same. Thanks.”
If you believe that you are a victim of discrimination at work, it is important to seek wise legal counsel prior to filing a complaint with your employer, the EEOC or the courts. There are many steps to take to ensure that you are protected. For more information on how to best move forward with your situation, contact any experienced firm.