Former CNN Producer Files Discrimination Lawsuit

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently featured Omar Butcher, our client, in a story that talked about his time at CNN and his struggle to receive the same opportunities as his colleagues. As a young man, Omar dreamed of becoming a journalist. After growing up in Germany and Italy—his father was in the Army—he attended Florida State University to earn a degree in Mass Media Studies.

After getting his degree, Omar was chosen to intern for CNN—a moment that he and his entire family celebrated. Shortly after getting his foot in the door, Omar made it his goal to become a writer at the Atlanta-based news organization. When his company started looking for new writers, he quickly applied—but never received an interview. He was still waiting for them to respond to his application when he received a mass email congratulating the new writer chosen for the position.

“I was crushed,” he recalled after hearing the news.

Omar even took steps to ask what he could have done to be a stronger contender—an HR official at his company explained to him the normal procedure for the hiring process. Omar noted that none of the steps she mentioned were ever applied to him.

Further Denial of Opportunity

Eventually, Omar worked his way up to a position as a writer and segment producer. When another promotion opportunity came up, Omar was passed over without getting an interview. He asked his manager about why he wasn’t even considered—and his manager questioned Omar’s training and qualifications. Instead of questioning his manager, Omar decided to pursue further training opportunities to increase his odds of a promotion.

He was denied the opportunity to train.

Omar began to notice that the positions he wasn’t even being considered for were going to his colleagues—the majority of whom were white.

As a religious man, Omar was also unfortunately subjected to religious discrimination. Our client was offended by repeated swearing that used elements of his faith—which created a hostile work environment.

The Final Straw

The final episode that led Omar to file a lawsuit occurred shortly before he was fired—and we allege that it’s the reason he was fired. CNN anchor Ashley Banfield asked in an on-air report whether the violence in the African-American community indicated that the entire generation of young men was “lost,” and asked if “there is an entire generation out there that cannot be changed…they just have to age and die.”

Omar privately sent an email to explain to Banfield why her comments would be considered troubling—especially as she never posed the same questions in stories involving young white males who commit murder. Banfield allegedly responded defensively, questioned whether Omar was calling her a racist, and promised to take it up with their managers.

Omar was fired the next day.

Fighting for Lost Wages & Lost Opportunities

Ultimately, our client isn’t just looking for a way to satisfy his sense of justice. He wants to do what he’s always wanted to do—become a journalist and contribute to the national dialogue. Instead of rightfully getting the opportunity to do so, he was repeatedly ignored and denied the same opportunities as his colleagues. That’s why he turned to our Atlanta employment lawyers.

Our claim is fighting for his possible reinstatement at CNN, as well as the promotions (or opportunities to promote) that he should have received in the first place. Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP is proud to fight for Omar and show that discrimination, either religious or racial, is unacceptable in the workplace. Our firm aims to help him receive the justice he needs to build his career without prejudicial impediments.

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