Roots drummer and Tonight Show band member Questlove is being sued for racial discrimination.
The news comes TMZ, which reports that two camera operators — Kurt Decker and Michael Cimino — lost their jobs at The Tonight Show after Questlove demanded they be fired.
According to the lawsuit, the two staff members, along with Roots member Mark Kelley, received an unsolicited racist group text message last year from another NBC staffer. However, Decker and Cimino (who are white) claim they never asked to receive the racist text and they never responded to it.
Decker and Cimino also claim they tried to distance themselves from the text over fears it would be associated with them — something that obviously happened, as NBC eventually did fire the pair after being approached by Questlove about the incident.
As TMZ reports, Roots member Mark Kelley (who is black) did not get punished by the network.
UPDATE (1/24, 6:50 p.m. EST): In response to the story, a rep for NBC has now given TMZ the following statement: “NBC is committed to providing a work environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. We have strong policies in place that protect against discrimination in any form. The decision about these plaintiffs was the company’s alone.”
UPDATE (1/24, 10:15 p.m. EST): A rep for Questlove has now responded to the lawsuit. “Questlove denies the ridiculous allegations made in this lawsuit,” his representative told Pitchfork. “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. As NBC already stated, the decisions made regarding these employees were made by NBC, alone.”