Two white NBC cameramen say ”Tonight Show” bandleader Questlove had them fired for simply receiving a racist text - while The Roots frontman protected a black employee who got the same message, according to a new $2 million lawsuit.
Two white NBC cameramen say ?”Tonight Show” bandleader? Questlove had them fired for simply receiving a racist text? ?— while The Roots frontman protected a black employee who got the same message, according to a new $2 million lawsuit.
The ?Peacock ?network canned Kurt Decker and Michael Cimino over the June 19, 2017 incident “on the basis of?? the color of their skin,” the camera operators say in the Manhattan Supreme Court suit against ?both ?NBC and Questlove.
Last summer an unnamed ?“?The Tonight Show ?Starring Jimmy Fallon” ?stagehand sent Decker and Cimino the unsolicited text that included “a piece of fried chicken with a bite out of it along with a racial slur that inevitably depicts African Americans,” their attorney Richard Roth told The Post.
Roth declined to repeat the slur but said it included the n-word.
The text was also sent to Roots bassist Mark Kelley.? The Roots, led by drummer Questlove are Fallon’s house band on the late-night talk show.?
Neither cameraman responded to the message? ?— which they received during the middle of a taping? ?— and immediately told superiors that they had nothing to do with it, according to court papers.
“Both were shocked to receive it and repulsed by its content,” the suit says.
The day after receiving the text the cameramen were suspended.
“Kelley, who is African?-American, was not,” the suit says.
They were later fired after Questlove allegedly demanded their heads, despite his own history of making controversial statements, according to court papers.
Decker and Cimino note that Questlove apologized for ridiculing Japanese accents on Instagram in 2013 and played the song “Lyin’ Ass B—h” when former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann walked on stage in 2011.
“NBC acquiesced to Questlove’s overtly discriminatory demand,” the suit says.
The network also barred the cameramen from discussing their ouster with former colleagues, so they couldn’t defend themselves against charges of bigotry.
Before the incident they had a combined 40 years of “spotless performance” with NBC, the suit says.
An NBC spokeswoman said, “We have strong policies in place that protect against discrimination in any form. The decision about these plaintiffs was the company’s alone.”
A network source added that “failure to report the inappropriate text was one of the policies violated by the plaintiffs.”
A spokeswoman for Questlove denied the suit’s allegations, calling them “ridiculous.”
“Questlove denies the ridiculous allegations made in this lawsuit,” Carleen Donovan said. “Racism is REAL and exists throughout the world and for these gentlemen to claim victim is not only disrespectful to Questlove and his band mates, but to all that truly endure racism on a daily basis. As NBC already stated, the decisions made regarding these employees were made by NBC, alone.”