Two former nannies of a Wall Street millionaire filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against him and his girlfriend after they referred to them as “dirty Jamaicans.”
Cislyn Wright and Cordia Foster were live-in nannies for Ogden Phipps II co-founder Ian K. Snow and his girlfriend, Elyse Dula, in Manhattan. Foster began working for the couple in 2017, and Wright began in 2018. The women lived with Snow, Dula and four children at their rental home in the Hamptons as well as the couple’s New York mansion once owned by Rupert Murdoch.
The women said they were stereotyped by the couple from the beginning of their employment and were referred to as “dirty Jamaicans” and “black b—s.”
The first incident happened in January of 2020 after the family’s kitten got outside, prompting Dula to say, “Those black b—s!”
The lawsuit also claimed that in May of 2020, Dula said, “I’m happy to be getting these dirty Jamaicans out of my house” when the servants’ quarters were almost finished. Foster and Wright also claimed that they were accused of stealing as well as trespassing after they were terminated in August of 2020.
The lawsuit alleges that the women were let go for several reasons including using their cell phones, bathing the children in hot water and ignoring the children.
The two nannies were also accused of being “hostile” to Dula and threatening to do “black magic” on the couple. The women also said they were told, “Elyse hates you Jamaicans” by the couple’s personal assistant, Tamela Walsh.
The lawsuit also claims that the couple tried to get the nannies to quit their jobs by cutting their pay in half. Documents also said that Snow and Dula blocked the nannies’ ability to see outside by covering the kitchen window of the servants’ quarters.
The women filed the racial discrimination lawsuit in December of 2021 in New York. Court documents showed that the former nannies suffered from other identities such as being ignored while the couple addressed non-black house servants in their presence. The nannies were also forbidden to enter the homes’ guest quarters or the pool house.
“Both Defendants often conspicuously treated Plaintiffs as if they were ‘invisible’ – for example, upon entering a room occupied by Foster or Wright and a non-black servant, Defendants would often greet, smile to, and talk with the nonblack worker while acting as if Foster or Wright did not exist.”
Court documents also said that the two nannies “were simultaneously terminated without cause or explanation” by Dula and Snow.
The couple denied that they are racist and claimed the nannies were fired because they lost trust in the women’s ability to care for their children. Court documents also noted the couple’s denial.
“Plaintiffs’ services were terminated, not because of the color of their skin, and not because of any purported ‘retaliation’, but because they had lost Defendants’ trust and faith, a necessary and non-negotiable component to Defendants’ willingness to allow any person, of any color or racial make-up, to care for their young children.”
The couple also said the nannies were terminated for putting a monitoring device in the one of children’s rooms and disciplining the children by putting them in windowless rooms. The women claimed that they were following Dula’s instructions. The couple was also upset that the women gave one of the children a scary Joker mask from the movie “Batman.”
The couple’s attorney Gerard Riso told The New York Post that the couple planned to fight the lawsuit. “The defendants deny all of the allegations and we will fight this vigorously.”