Five white men who produced the TV version of a popular hip hop radio show say they're the victims of reverse racism. Former employees of Sean "Diddy" Combs' Revolt TV reportedly filed a lawsuit, alleging they were unfairly fired and replaced with inexperienced black employees.
The New York Daily News reports that Todd Baker, Douglas Goodstein, Richard Wilson, Michael Schiff and Jason Preziosiwho — who all worked on Revolt TV's broadcast of Power 105.1's "The Breakfast Club" — filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court against Combs and his network.
Power 105.1 and the "The Breakfast Club" are not named in the lawsuit, just Revolt TV and Combs, as co-host Charlamagne Tha God pointed out on Instagram.
All the men are white, older than 39 and formerly worked on "The Howard Stern Show." They claim they were fired because they were repeatedly mocked for misunderstanding the culture and that Revolt executives were condescending and rude to the production team.
“Revolt treated them worse than other employees who were younger and African American,” the suit reads. The men also complained about the lack of punctuality of guests and that frequent racial discussions on the show made them uncomfortable.
A lawyer for Revolt told Page Six that the claims were unfounded. “These claims are without merit and have previously been dismissed by the [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission]," the attorney said.
The story sparked a discussion about "reverse racism" on Twitter.
Accusations of "reverse racism" are often the result of discomfort.
ATTN: spoke to Katherine Kirkinis, a mental health counselor in New York who has written on prejudice in the workplace, about the concept of "reverse racism."
"I do not believe that it's a thing and most scholars would agree with that," she said. Kirkinis explained that racism is tied to positions of power in society. White men are still a dominant group in the U.S. in terms of wages, and power in the workplace, particularly in media.
"It's not a thing because of history," she said. "It could be a thing if history were reversed — if white people were enslaved and treated badly, sure, but the whole thing about racism is it's about power and about privilege."
Sometimes, just the discussion of white privilege or race can be interpreted by white people as "racist," especially when they're in an unfamiliar, more diverse environment.
Indeed, one of the complaints in the lawsuit is that an assistant director on the show said that, “Caucasians harbored racism against African-Americans," according to Vulture.
"I heard a really interesting quote the other day, that when you've had a life of privilege when one thing gets taken away from you it can feel like oppression," said Kirkinis. "When your environment is changing or the people you're around are changing you can feel a lot more threatened."