Many publishers have been trying to diversify their staffs by hiring minority talent. But a complication has appeared: A former reporter has sued Gannett for alleged reverse discrimination.
Steven Bradley, a former sportswriter and editor who worked at the Democrat & Chronicle, an upstate New York newspaper for 21 years, claims he was terminated due to a policy of adding minority employees at the expense of non-minority group members at the Gannett newspaper.
“There can be no question that Mr. Bradley’s termination was directly based on his race,” the complaint alleges. “For example, the Democrat and Chronicle’s executive editor commented that he decided to terminate Mr. Bradley’s employment rather than another employee because Mr. Liu was Asian and Mr. Bradley was White.”
The complaint states that Gannett implemented a policy to achieve inclusion quotas around 2020, awarding bonuses and incentives for staffing of newsrooms with minority group members.
“Gannett moved forward with the implementation of the Reverse Race Discrimination Policy resulting in numerous highly qualified non-minority employees finding their employment terminated or suffering other adverse employment actions based purely on their race,” the complaint continues.
In addition, the complaint charges that “the Gannett employee tasked with overseeing talent recruitment and retention, Hollis Towns, informed Gannett managers that no more straight white males should be hired going forward.”
Bradley, who identifies himself in the complaint as white, is asking for class status and an award of lost wages, back pay and punitive damages.
Publishers Daily was seeking comment from Gannett at deadline.
The case is on file with the Supreme Court of the State of New York for Monroe County.