A bizarre legal matter has been unfolding since last year after a pair of white cameraman formerly staffed by NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon launched a lawsuit against the network and bandleader Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. The Roots drummer responded to the allegations, with a rep calling them “ridiculous.”
The Blast reports:
According to a lawsuit obtained by The Blast, Kurt Decker and Michael Cimino were working on the show as camera operators on June 19, 2017 when they received “an unsolicited racist and misogynist text message from a Tonight Show stagehand.”
They claim a third person, Mark Kelley — a bassist for The Roots — also received the message. Kelley is African-American.
Decker and Cimino claim they did not respond to the message and later reported it to Keith McPhee (a manager of The Roots) and Bryon King, a technical production manager at NBC.
The two men claim there were both immediately suspended, but Kelley was not.
A seven-week investigation ensued and, they claim, Questlove “pressured NBC to fire all of the Caucasian employees involved in the incident.”
Questlove’s team contacted The Blast and told them straight out that what Decker and Cimino are claiming is wild over the top.
“Racism is REAL and exists throughout the world and for these gentlemen to claim victim is not only disrespectful to Questlove and his bandmates, but to all that truly endure racism on a daily basis,” read the comment.
NBC also chimed in with a comment, saying that the decision to fire the gentlemen came from network heads and not Questlove.