A Los Angeles judge gave a green light to a lawsuit an African-American woman filed in March that accused her employer of firing her in relation to comedian Bill Maher‘s use of the N-word on his HBO series.
The judge ruled that Shonitria Anthony’s discrimination and retaliation case has a probability of prevailing, Hollywood Reporter said on Tuesday.
Anthony was an editor at ATTN:, a news site targeted to the millennial audience and that has Maher as one of its high-profile investors. The company argued that her case was frivolous, but the judge disagreed.
“It is not disputed that Plaintiff is African-American, was qualified for her position and suffered an adverse employment action. Plaintiff’s declaration details how she believes she was singled out after raising issues of race in her workplace. That is a sufficient ‘other circumstance’ to suggest a discriminatory motive,” L.A. Superior Court Judge Steven Kleifield ruled.
Maher stirred up controversy in 2017 during a sit-down interview with Nebraska’s Republican Sen. Ben Sasse on his show Real Time with Bill Maher. Sasse invited the comedian to visit Nebraska, adding, “We’d love to have you work in the fields with us.”
“Work in the fields? Senator, I am a house n—er,” Maher replied. He later apologized amid an avalanche of criticism.
Anthony organized her Black co-workers and asked the company to hold a meeting to discuss Maher’s use of the racial slur. In response, ATTN: retaliated against her, ultimately giving her a pink slip, the lawsuit stated.
ATTN: denied the allegations, insisting that her termination was part of a business strategy aimed at producing more videos rather than written articles. The company filed an appeal to the judge’s decision.