Two former New York Post journalists are suing the paper, alleging racial discrimination in the newsroom and that they were fired in part for speaking out against a Post cartoon many considered to be racist.
A suit filed yesterday by former and long-time reporter Austin Fenner says he was banned from entering the newsroom in May 2009 following his public condemnation of the cartoon and a run-in with his editors over a separate reporting matter.
He was told the ban was due to restructuring, but he continued to maintain a desk at the Post and continued to report for the paper.
Fenner also alleges severe under-representation of African Americans in editor positions at the paper and that he was treated more harshly and forced to travel more than his white colleagues. He was fired on November 9, the same day a Post associate editor filed a lawsuit against the paper.
Both suits are suing based on wrongful termination and various civil rights statutes. Neither specifies damages but asks that the number be determined at trial.
Guzman’s lawsuit depicts the Post newsroom as male-dominated and frat-like, and includes several shocking allegations, including that the paper’s editor-in-chief Col Allan showed a group of female Post employees a picture of a naked man on his blackberry and “rubbed his penis against” another female employee.
Guzman alleges that she was called “Cha Cha #1” and that editors would routinely sing songs from West Side Story when she walked by, Stein reported.
The Post said that Guzman was fired because she did not attract readers for Tempo, the paper insert she edited. Guzman said that, after the voiced comments about the allegedly racist cartoon, her job was made increasingly difficult until she was fired.
Rubenstein Communications, which handles PR for the Post, said Guzman’s complaint has no merit.
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