A lawsuit recently filed against NBC claims that two camera operators were fired from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at the request of Roots drummer and Philadelphia native Questlove because they are white.
Former Tonight Show cameramen Kurt Decker and Michael Cimino filed the suit in New York Supreme Court on Wednesday. In the suit, the pair allege that Questlove, who leads the Roots as the Tonight Show band, demanded that they be fired after a show stagehand sent them "unsolicited racist and misogynist texts." The stagehand was not named in the suit, nor was the fate of the stagehand mentioned in the suit.
Decker and Cimino claim that they reported the texts to higher-ups and NBC, as well as Roots manager Keith McPhee, and were subsequently suspended "for having received the unsolicited text message." Roots bassist Mark Kelley, "who is African-American," as the suit states, also allegedly received the texts, but was not suspended.
The suit goes on to claim that Questlove "demanded that Plaintiffs' employment be terminated," and that Roots member Kelley "receive no adverse employment action" in connection to the incident. As the suit puts it, NBC "acquiesced to Questlove's overtly discriminatory demand," and Decker and Cimino believe they were "terminated because they are Caucasian."
NBC has since issued a statement on the suit, saying that the network fosters "a work environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity," and that the decision to terminate the camera operators "was the company's alone."
Questlove also responded to the claims of racial discrimination, saying via a statement from a representative that he "denies the ridiculous allegations" made in the suit.
"Racism is REAL and exists throughout the world and for these gentlemen to claim victim is not only disrespectful to Questlove and his bandmates, but to all that truly endure racism on a daily basis," the statement reads. "As NBC already stated, the decisions made regarding these employees were made by NBC, alone."
Decker and Cimino are seeking an unspecified amount in damages. However, the suit claims that the pair deserve compensation "in excess of $1 million each" for their terminations.
The Roots, meanwhile, were last in town to perform "Fly, Eagles, Fly," the Eagles victory song, at halftime during the NFC Championship on Sunday: