The plummeting ratings of Katie Couric aren’t the only problem for CBS these days. The network just got slapped with a $50 million lawsuit alleging sexual orientation discrimination and retaliation. From Towleroad (pronounced “toll road,” for those of you not familiar with it):
Dick Jefferson, the CBS News producer who was gay bashed with a group of friends in St. Maarten in April 2006, has filed a $50 million lawsuit against CBS, according to Kenneth Walsh of Kenneth in the 212.
Jefferson says that after the incident he was warned by CBS News Senior Vice President Linda Mason not to speak out about the incident because it was too controversial. After Jefferson suggested to Mason that she was violating the network’s anti-discrimination policies, by “controlling what he wrote in his e-mail messages from his personal account, requiring him to ask for permission to testify in open court against his attackers (they were eventually caught and convicted) and banning him from having contact with his friend and colleague, Ryan Smith, who was still hospitalized from the attack,” he says she engaged in a systematic campaign of retaliation which eventually led to his being fired.
We’re surprised that Linda Mason (above right) isn’t more sympathetic to gay rights. Guess you can’t judge a book by its cover.
For those of you who are interested, a little more on this story appears after the jump.
From kenneth in the 212:
Jefferson says he complied with all the orders [to keep things on the down-low], but eventually complained asking Mason — who is the News Division’s executive in charge of enforcing the company’s anti-discrimination policies — if she would do the same thing if an African American employee had been attacked, or a woman raped. Jefferson says Mason exploded in anger, “Are you accusing me of discrimination?” Shoving her chair away from the desk, Jefferson says she quickly spun back, and sternly reminded him that she “makes the rules here” and that it was her job to “protect CBS News.”
Mason sounds positively diva-licious. Might she be the Alexandra Korry of CBS?
St. Maarten Gay Bash Victim Sues, Says CBS Fired Him for Speaking Out [Towleroad]
CBS Eye on Homophobia? [kenneth in the 212]