Omar Butcher, a former associate producer for CNN who was fired a year ago, is suing the network for wrongful termination after, he says, colleagues discriminated against him.
In his lawsuit, Butcher says he was targeted after complaining about colleagues using profane language and using the “Lord’s name in vain.”
“One time, things got so bad that Butcher walked out on his team because his colleagues refused to stop swearing despite his pleas,” The Daily Mail reports. “After he walked out, he claims the Vice President of Dayside Programming warned him not to do it again or face repercussions.”
Butcher, who is African American and describes himself as a devout Christian, says he emailed colleagues asking them to stop using language that he found offensive. But the behavior, he says, only worsened.
In March and April, Butcher says he talked with human resources representatives at CNN about the “hostile and negative climate,” at the company, including some negative comments he says he heard about the increase in African American voices on air. In July, Butcher says he expressed serious concern about what he perceived as “racially insensitive” remarks made by CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield.
‘Have we lost a generation?’ Banfield asked during an on-air segment regarding violence in the African American community.” She also asked whether ‘there is an entire generation out that there cannot be changed, that cannot be reached, they just have to age and die?'”
After the segment, Butcher says he privately emailed Banfield, noting that she hand not made noted that she did not make similar remarks in a segment about young white males who kill.
Banfield responded to the email, asking Butcher whether he was suggesting she was ‘racist.’ Banfield then copied and forwarded the private email to senior management, The Daily Mail reports.
A day later Butcher says he was fired from his Atlanta-based job.
This is not the first time in recent years CNN has been sued for discrimination.
In 2015, producer Ricky Blalock claimed the cable news network passed over black employees and denied them on-the-job training opportunities. Blalock was a producer for anchors Banfield’s and Fredricka Whitfield morning legal show. A year earlier producer Stanley Wilson hit the channel with a $5 million wrongful-termination and discrimination complaint in L.A. Superior Court. Wilson, a longtime field producer and writer of news and documentaries was fired in January 2014 after complaining about “the wholesale discrimination against African-American men in the hiring and promotion of staff producers and television photographers in Los Angeles.”