The crew at The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. A judge has ruled against some former employees who maintain they were unjustly terminated.
In June 2017 Kurt Decker and Michael Cimino said they received an unsolicited racist text from a stage hand. The message was supposedly “a piece of fried chicken with a bite out of it along with a racial slur” that was aimed at African Americans. According to the court papers neither cameraman responded to the message and reported it to their superior.
To their surprise the following day they were both suspended. The two were later laid off and allege that Questlove, leader of house band The Roots, demanded that they both be fired. Roots bassist Mark Kelley also received the text in question but kept his job.
According to The New York Post a Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Carol Edmead dismissed their lawsuit citing that the case needed to be handled arbitrarily due to a collective bargaining agreement between their union and the network. Decker and Cimono’s will explore an appeal.
“We are going to push forward because we believe NBC wronged these employees regardless of color.” It is about whether a company can fire employees for essentially receiving a text they had nothing to do with, and discriminate against those employees based on race” explained their lawyer Steven Wittles.
A representative for Questlove has denied their claims. “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” Carleen Donovan said.