In the midst of celebrating Black History Month, a former employee of CNN has stepped forward, accusing the major news network of “racial and religious discrimination in a lawsuit earlier this month.” The former employee is Omar Butcher, and the lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court Northern District of Georgia. For those who don’t know, though, this isn’t the first round of allegations of discrimination against the news network. In fact, this is the third lawsuit “over discrimination over the past year!” So what exactly transpired to cause this latest lawsuit?
Well, according to court documents, Butcher worked for CNN from 2010 to 2015, and originally joined as an associate producer. As time passed, he worked hard to climb the ladder by applying for a number of positions, including a writing job. Every time he applied for a new position, the lawsuit claims he was always passed over and “discouraged from training.” Additionally, the lawsuit claims he was treated unfairly in relation to his white colleagues. For example, Butcher said he was “unfairly called out for not attending a meeting that white colleagues had missed.”
Another instance of racial discrimination occurred when he sent an email to Ashleigh Banfield, a former CNN host, informing her of his concern over comments “she made on air about African Americans.” What did Banfield say that was so offensive? According to the lawsuit, she said the following:
“Have we lost a generation? Is there is an entire generation out there that cannot be changed, that cannot be reached, they just have to age and die?”
After expressing his concern to Banfield in the email, the former host responded back in an email that “went to his superiors, saying she felt he was calling her a racist.” The following day, Butcher was fired.
Another part of the lawsuit claims religious discrimination. Butcher is a devout Christian, and according to the lawsuit, “he was offended by the use of profanity by other staffers, including terms regarding God and Jesus Christ.” Whenever he asked his colleagues to stop, he was ignored.
As a result of the discrimination he suffered while working at CNN, Butcher is “seeking unspecified compensation for damages including emotional distress, inconvenience, loss of income and benefits, humiliation, and other indignities.”
As previously mentioned, this isn’t this first time the network has been accused of racial discrimination. In fact, back in 2014, the National Association of Black Journalists released a “press release expressing concern about the atmosphere at CNN for African Americans.” So how has the network responded so far? Well, in response to the most recent lawsuit, representatives of the network said: “CNN does not comment on pending litigation.” Perhaps they’re too busy juggling their other lawsuits.