The man suspected of killing two Virginia journalists during a live television broadcast on Wednesday once filed a lawsuit against a former employer, claiming a producer at the station called him a “monkey.”
The racism allegations echo tweets the purported gunman, identified as Vester Lee Flanagan, posted shortly after this week’s brutal shooting. Flanagan, who went by Bryce Williams while employed by WDBJ in Roanoke, shot and killed WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward before shooting himself. Earlier that day, Flanagan took to Twitter to post grievances about his former coworkers:
According to The Huffington Post, Flanagan filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida in 2000 against another employer, WTWC-TV.
According to court documents, Flanagan, who is black, had been employed at WTWC as a newscaster and anchor. He alleged racism in his workplace and retaliation for reporting it. The parties reached a settlement, the terms of which were not disclosed.
In the lawsuit, Flanagan claimed that a producer called him a “monkey” and that he was “made aware that other black employees … had been called monkeys by officials affiliated with defendant.”
He said a white “official” told him that “it busted her butt that blacks did not take advantage of the free money,” referring to scholarship funds available to African-Americans. He also claimed that a supervisor said that “blacks are lazy.”
Flanagan also claimed that another employee told a black tape operator to “stop talking ebonics.” WTWC-TV acknowledged that an employee “may have made similar comments to another employee,” but denied that such comments are “indicative of unlawful employment practices.”
The station denied the claims in a court filing, the Post writes.
Flanagan also sued WDBJ, claiming they owed him money after his termination from the company. The case was dismissed. It is not clear if the suit served as motivation behind the shooting of the two WDBJ journalists.
The 41-year-old died of a self-inflicted wound Wednesday afternoon. An investigation into the shooting continues.
SOURCE: Huffington Post | VIDEO SOURCE: NDN
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