Minorities are seated in the back rows of meetings at broadcaster CBS and sometimes excluded altogether, an executive has claimed in a bombshell discrimination lawsuit.
Ghen Maynard, who was born in Japan, has Japanese ancestry and developed shows such as Survivor and Amazing Race, made the allegation after he was told he was being fired because the network’s unscripted department was being axed.
The Hollywood Reporter says that a complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday claims the firing occurred after an investigation into an allegation that he mistreated a female co-worker.
In his age and race discrimination lawsuit, Maynard says he is the “only non-white executive at CBS Studios” and also refers to the departure of CEO Leslie Moonves, who left the company amid a sexual misconduct scandal last year.
“Despite blaming all of its problems on Mr. Moonves and claiming that it has taken steps to improve race and gender issues at the Company, today’s CBS ‘leaders,’ those making the key decisions on such issues, are all white males, whose decisions belie CBS’ self-serving rhetoric.”
Maynard’s complaint alleges that minorities are relegated to the back rows in meetings, if they are invited at all.
Maynard says he’s one of many upper-level executives over the age of 40 recently fired. His last day of employment is set for Dec. 2.
CBS and Viacom are due to merge shortly, and industry analysts believe the union will lead to some layoffs.
A statement from CBS provided to The Hollywood Reporter reads: “Mr. Maynard's contract was not renewed due to the elimination of the studio’s alternative programming department. The claims in this suit are completely without merit, and we will defend against it vigorously.”