After being fired from an Atlanta news station, a white meteorologist is now suing his former employer claiming he was fired because he is white.
Paul Ossmann, 62, had been a meteorologist at CBS46 Atlanta since 2012, which is owned by Meredith Corp., until he was terminated in April. In the lawsuit he filed on Friday, Ossmann claimed he experienced a “racially and ethnically discriminatory termination,” accusing his former general manager of firing him with the purpose of promoting a Hispanic woman as the chief meteorologist to advance diversity in the newsroom, which he called “illegal activism.” He also stated that Meredith fostered a “racially hostile work environment.”
Aside from his claims against his former employer, Ossmann also made accusations about former co-workers and anchors Sharon Reed, who is Black, and Thomas Roberts, who is white, both of whom he claimed subjected him to “racist and ageist” insults. In the lawsuit, Ossmann claimed Reed called him a “white dog” and a “piece of shit.” He also said that other co-workers nicknamed him “Kellogg” as to call him a “cornflake.” All of the aforementioned insults were in reference to a note allegedly exchanged between Reed and Roberts in the newsroom that was leaked to a broadcast journalism gossip site in December.
Though Roberts confirmed the authenticity of the note, he claimed it was not meant to be negative. Reed, who left the Atlanta station in May, has yet to comment.
“These comments went viral and caused Plaintiff significant humiliation, pain and suffering,” the lawsuit said. The Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) reported that when Ossmann complained to management, he said no action was taken.
With news of the lawsuit, Meredith quickly fired back against Ossmann’s claims of being fired for being white. Meredith claimed that the meteorologist was first suspended then fired because of complaints by several female co-workers of conduct that “violated our workplace policies.”
“CBS46 conducted investigations into each of these multiple complaints,” the company said in a statement. “Ossmann’s discharge was not only appropriate, but necessary and consistent with our values. Meredith will defend vigorously against Mr. Ossmann’s false allegations that attempt to obscure that fact.”
According to the AJC, Ossmann did not reference the complaints in the lawsuit, but he also “filed a charge of discrimination based on race, age, and sex, against Meredith with the Federal Communications Commission,” which is now being investigated by the FCC. And though specific dollar amounts were not discussed in the suit, Ossmann is seeking lost wages and compensation mental and emotional damage.