After nearly five years as a writer/producer for CNN, Ricky L. Blalock has a discrimination lawsuit against the network. According to the AJC, Blalock says he’s the only African American male writer/producer out of 40 staffers. (Note: there are other women of color with Blalock’s same job title).
With over twenty years of journalism experience, Blalock claims he was overlooked for a promotion which was supposedly given to an under-qualified white woman. In August, he filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which said he was denied paid on-the-job training that was readily available to his white colleagues.
According to Blalock’s lawsuit, CNN “…intentionally and willfully violated Mr. Blalock’s right to be free from race-based discrimination in his employment.”
He previously worked as a weekend writer/producer for with Fredricka Whitfield and he worked with anchor Suzanne Malveaux during the weekdays.
Prior to Blalock, the network has had their share of discrimination lawsuits. In 2014, a field producer Stanley Wilson filed a $5 million wrongful termination suit against CNN. Wilson alleged Peter Janos, his boss of nearly two decades, hindered his opportunities to be promoted as well as ignored requests to diversify their staff.
According to Wilson’s lawsuit Janos, “…never liked the Plaintiff and never wanted him at the [Los Angeles] bureau because of Plaintiff’s protected characteristics, including his race, color and ancestry, among other things.”
CNN’s production team aren’t the only ones who’ve dealt with discrimination at the network. The AJC reports that former CNN anchors, Soledad O’Brien, Suzanne Malveaux and TJ Holmes left the network due to issues of racism and a lack of diversity amongst the executive staff.
Blalock’s former African American boss also filed a discrimination suit against the network and was subsequently terminated. He is seeking compensatory damages of at least $500,000.
CNN was not available for comment in the Blalock case.