Black producer at CNN fired over anchor Ashleigh Banfield’s implicit bias?
Omar Butcher, a Black associate producer was fired from CNN in July 2015. Now he’s suing, accusing them of racial and religious discrimination.
He was fired a day after he emailed anchor Ashleigh Banfield. He expressed concerns after she asked in an on-air segment whether society had “lost a generation” due to violence in the community.
According to theDailyMail.com, Butcher has filed a lawsuit against the cable network in Atlanta.
Butcher started working for the network in 2010. He believes he was targeted after complaining about colleagues using “profane language” and the Lord’s name in vain: such as “Jesus Christ” and “goddamn.”
Butcher is a self-professed devout Christian and reports that after he complained, the profanity increased and he suffered the backlash.
He says that in March 2015 and April 2015, he expressed concerns to HR about a colleague’s “obvious and negative sounding comment about the increase in African American voices on our air” and “the hostile and negative climate” at the company.
In July, he says he was “extremely troubled” about “racially insensitive” remarks made by white CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield.
“Have we lost a generation?” Banfield asked during her on-air segment. “There is an entire generation out that there cannot be changed, that cannot be reached, they just have to age and die?”
He sent Banfield a private email that upset her to the point that she responded negatively and it cost Butcher his job.
She retorted and asked if he was suggesting she was “a racist” and said that she would take it up with their bosses. She copied senior management on the email.
In the suit, Butcher claims, “Despite the obviously high quality of his work, Mr. Butcher applied for three writer/producer jobs in 2012 for which he was qualified and all three positions were awarded to White individuals. Mr. Butcher did not even receive an interview.”
Butcher also claims he was often overlooked for promotional opportunities, He says he contacted HR to ask about the process for an internal candidate, and requested training on multiple occasions to no avail.
He showed up at work on his days off “because he was not given the paid training and opportunities to gain access to paid training his White counterparts received.”
CNN “never adequately addressed Mr. Butcher’s concerns about the suspicious hiring and training process,” the filings say.