Former camera operators Kurt Decker and Michael Cimino claim that Questlove targeted them for termination following an incident because they are white.
According to the lawsuit, Decker and Cimino were camera operators for the show and last June they allegedly received “unsolicited racist and misogynist text message from a Tonight Show stagehand.”
They claim that Roots bassist Mark Kelley also received the text. They said they did not respond to the text and reported it to the Roots managers and an NBC technical production manager.
Decker and Cimino say they were both suspended but Kelley was not.
The lawsuit alleges that Questlove “pressured NBC to fire all of the Caucasian employees involved in the incident.” The suit also claims that Questlove insisted Kelley should not be disciplined.
A rep for Questlove denied the allegations in a statement: “Questlove denies the ridiculous allegations made in this lawsuit. 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.”
Questlove also tweeted about the situation, calling it “bullshucks.”
Not that I should have to RT this bullshucks but yeah….that time I got sued for being offended by racism https://t.co/RSe5GK1HdH
— Questlove Gomez (@questlove) January 25, 2018
An NBC spokesperson said, “NBC is committed to providing a work environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. We have strong policies in place that protect against discrimination in any form. The decision about these plaintiffs was the company’s alone.”
The plaintiffs are each seeking $1 million in damages.