[guest post by Dana]
CNN faces a $60 million dollar discrimination lawsuit filed against them for allegedly firing a technical operator because he’s gay and because he wore bright colors and mariachi outfits to work which were judged to be “too flamboyant”.
Kane, who started working at CNN in 2002, claims nobody at the news network ever informed him of a dress code or complained about the hot pink designer shirt he wore in his employee ID photo. Nor did he get any guff for the bright red track jacket, neon green soccer jersey or yellow track suit, with matching shoes and hat, that he wore at other times.
“It really saddens me,” the 33-year-old Kane said of losing his job as a microphone tech.
“I feel like the Rosa Parks of CNN. Maybe someone else won’t have to suffer the way I have,” he told the Daily News.
Kane’s unique attire was popular with with journalists Christiane Amanpour and Fareed Zakaria, the suit claims. It also claims that CNN anchor Erin Burnett cited him as the “best-dressed man” on her show. Kane, who is married to a Mexican man, would wear mariachi suits to work when they corresponded with current news cycle themes.
The suit alleges that when Kane’s supervisor, John Silva, learned he was gay, a hostile work environment ensued. Also, while at a well known club, the suit further alleges Silva approached Kane and told him not to wear a yellow or black mariachi suit to work “because it was too flamboyant for a male in our department.”
Silva also suggested to Kane that he might be a better fit in an “entertainment or makeup department.”
The “flamboyant” comment smacked of stereotyping to Kane, who thought it was related to disclosing his same-sex engagement.
The suit points out that from 2002 to 2008, the technical operations department where he worked had a tradition of wearing colorful shirts on Thursdays.
At one point, Kane said, a supervisor had offered him a $100 “bribe” to go to a TJ Maxx store if he would change out of his blue track suit — because Piers Morgan complained it was distracting him. Kane said he refused the money but threw a black CNN sweatshirt over the track suit.
The Daily News also notes,
CNN star Anderson Cooper, who is openly gay, witnessed Silva admonishing Kane about wearing a red track suit, according to the complaint.
“Mr. Cooper gave (Kane) his personal company email address and asked plaintiff to email him details of the nature of being bullied by his supervisor,” the suit said.
Kane was fired in 2013. CNN claims they have not yet seen the lawsuit.