*Questlove is pushing back against allegations made by two ex-employees of “Tonight Show” in a racial discrimination lawsuit.
Camera operators Kurt Decker and Michael Cimino both claim they were targeted for termination following an incident because they are white. Their lawsuit against NBC and the Roots drummer seeks $1 million in damages.
According to the lawsuit, Decker and Cimino were working as camera operators for the show last June when they received an allegedly “unsolicited racist and misogynist text message from a ‘Tonight Show’ stagehand.” They say Roots bassist Mark Kelley, who is African-American, also received the text. The plaintiffs claim they did not respond to the text and reported it to a Roots manager and an NBC technical production manager.
Decker and Cimino say they were both suspended, while Kelley was not.
The lawsuit claims Questlove “pressured NBC to fire all of the Caucasian employees involved in the incident,” and they claim that he insisted Kelley not be disciplined.
A rep for the musician denied the allegations in a statement to Rolling Stone:
“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.”
An NBC spokesperson tells Rolling Stone:
“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.”