The Roots percussionist Questlove is dismissing a lawsuit filed by fired white employees of NBC saying Wednesday that it’s “ridiculous” and “disrespectful.” The Blast reported Jan. 24 that two camera operators from “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” blamed Questlove, born Ahmir Khalib Thompson, for their job loss and say it was because of their race.
According to the lawsuit, while Kurt Decker and Michael Cimino worked on the show on June 19, 2017, they received “an unsolicited racist and misogynist text message from a ‘Tonight Show’ stagehand.” Questlove’s fellow The Roots musician, bassist Mark Kelley — who is Black — also apparently received that same message.
Decker and Cimino didn’t respond to the text, according to the documents, but they reported them to The Roots manager Keith McPhee and NBC technical production manager Bryon King. The former NBC cameramen say they were immediately suspended while Kelly was not.
After a seven-week probe, the men pointed to Questlove as the culprit behind their job loss, claiming he “pressured NBC to fire all of the Caucasian employees involved in the incident.” Decker and Cimino claim Questlove insisted that his bandmate receive no disciplinary action.
Still, an NBC insider said the men did not report the text, which is against network policy.
NBC issued a statement saying it 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.”
In a statement issued to several outlets, Questlove’s representatives deny the allegations and described them as detracting from real racial incidents in the world.
“Questlove denies the ridiculous allegations made in this lawsuit,” it said. “Racism is REAL and exists throughout the world and for these gentlemen to claim victim is not only disrespectful to Questlove and his bandmates 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.”
The rapper gave a bit more explanation about the suit in a tweet posted late Wednesday.
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) January 25, 2018