Ghen Maynard, who developed unscripted CBS shows like “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race,” was told he was going to be fired because the network was axing his department. He filed a discrimination lawsuit against CBS claiming age and racial discrimination. Maynard, who was born in Japan and has Japanese ancestry, claimed in his case that people of color were seated in the back of CBS meetings and sometimes completely excluded.
Maynard filed the complaint with the Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday and said the firing occurred after he was investigated for allegedly mistreating a female coworker.
In 2016, Maynard became senior executive vice president of alternative programming at CBS’ in-house operations. In his complaint, Maynard said he was the “only non-white executive at CBS Studios.”
Last year, CEO Leslie Moonves left CBS among sexual harassment allegations against him. Maynard’s suit claims that despite the network claiming it changed its culture following Moonves’ departure, those who make major decisions at the company “are all white males, whose decisions belie CBS’ self-serving rhetoric.” Out of the CBS Television Studios executive team, Maynard was the only non-white person.
Maynard’s complaint says non-white executives at the network were often relegated to sit in the back of CBS meetings and were sometimes not invited at all. He also mentioned the firing of the head of daytime programming, Angelica McDaniel, who was let go in September amid restructuring. She is Mexican American.
Maynard’s suit says the gender discrimination complaint against Maynard was false, and a precursor to his firing because it led to an investigation into his conduct.
“Amplifying its mistreatment of Mr. Maynard, earlier this year, CBS subjected Mr. Maynard to a biased, sham ‘investigation’ into a false and ludicrous allegation that he mistreated a female co-worker on the writing team when he asked a quiet male employee on the same team for his opinions during a meeting,” the complaint says.
Maynard reportedly spoke to Tim Farrell, the head of HR at CBS, who later told him he was not found to have violated any CBS policy, but that he would be removed from “BH90210,” a reboot of “Beverly Hills 90210” he was working on. Maynard claims Farrell told him it was CBS Studios president David Stapf, a white man, who decided he be removed from the show.
The suit also encompasses the issue of ageism. The suit says Maynard is one of many executives over 40 who recently lost his job. CBS and Viacom also are merging, which is leading to layoffs.
In a statement to the Hollywood Reporter, CBS vehemently denied the discrimination claims.
“Mr. Maynard’s contract was not renewed due to the elimination of the Studio’s alternative programming department,” the statement says. “The claims in this suit are completely without merit, and we will defend against it vigorously.”
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