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Tonight Show staffers ‘fired for receiving racist text’

Two white NBC cameramen claim that The Tonight Show bandleader​ Questlove had them fired for just receiving an unsolicited racist text – while a black staffer who got the same message was allowed to remain.

Kurt Decker and Michael Cimino have filed a $2 million lawsuit against ​NBC and Questlove alleging they were fired ‘on the basis of​​ the color of their skin.’

The incident occurred on June 18, 2017, when an unnamed stagehand on the show sent the pair an ‘unsolicited racist and misogynist text’. It contained racial slurs about African Americans, including the n-word and stereotypes about fried chicken,’ their attorney Richard Roth told the New York Post.

Two white NBC cameramen claim that The Tonight Show bandleader​ Questlove (pictured) had them fired for just receiving an unsolicited racist text

Mark Kelley, who is African American and ​a bassist for The Roots – Jimmy Fallon’s house band led by drummer Questlove – also received the offensive message.

Decker and Cimino, who were filming when they received the message, said in the suit they were ‘shocked to receive it and repulsed by its content.’

They immediately informed their superiors, both Roots manager Keith McPhee and NBC technical production manager Bryan King, saying the text was unsolicited and that they had nothing to do with it, according to court papers.

Michael Cimino (pictured singing with The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon in April 2017) was fired from NBC last year, along with Kurt Decker

Michael Cimino (pictured singing with The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon in April 2017) was fired from NBC last year, along with Kurt Decker

Decker (also pictured singing with Fallon) and Cimino have filed a $2 million lawsuit against ​NBC and Questlove alleging they were fired 'on the basis of​​ the color of their skin'

Decker (also pictured singing with Fallon) and Cimino have filed a $2 million lawsuit against ​NBC and Questlove alleging they were fired ‘on the basis of​​ the color of their skin’

Decker posted a photo of himself singing with The Tonight Show host Fallon, with a gushing caption about his coworkers

Decker posted a photo of himself singing with The Tonight Show host Fallon, with a gushing caption about his coworkers

The two white camera operators were suspended the next day, the suit states, yet Kelley was not.

Decker and Cimino claim that Questlove, who previously made a public apology for mocking Japanese accents on Instagram in 2013, demanded they were fired over the incident.

‘NBC acquiesced to Questlove’s overtly discriminatory demand,’ the suit, filed in New York Supreme Court, says.

The pair, who have a combined 40 years of ‘spotless performance’ with NBC, according to the lawsuit, were fire a few weeks after receiving the text and were also prohibited from discussing the incident with former colleagues meaning they could not defend themselves against claims they were bigoted. 

‘Simply put, Plaintiffs were terminated because they are Caucasian,’ the suit states.

Decker and Cimino claim that Questlove, who previously made a public apology for mocking Japanese accents on Instagram in 2013, demanded they were fired over the incident

Decker and Cimino claim that Questlove, who previously made a public apology for mocking Japanese accents on Instagram in 2013, demanded they were fired over the incident

Both worked for Jimmy Fallon's The Tonight Show (pictured) and say they had spotless records with NBC

Both worked for Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show (pictured) and say they had spotless records with NBC

Both cameramen appeared to enjoy their jobs, and Decker posted a photo of himself singing with The Tonight Show host Fallon, with a gushing caption about his coworkers.

‘When you love the guy you work for so much you give him your hat,’ he wrote. ‘What an amazing week of shows with the best work family anyone could ask for. — with Jimmy Fallon.’

NBC refutes the pairs’ claims that they immediately reported the text to their superiors, adding that ‘failure to report the inappropriate text was one of the policies violated by the plaintiffs.’ 

‘We have strong policies in place that protect against discrimination in any form. The decision about these plaintiffs was the company’s alone,’ a spokesperson said. 

Questlove has not responded to requests from reporters for comment. 

 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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