A former New York Post editor who was fired last month for complaining about a ludicrously racist cartoon has filed a detailed complaint in federal court accusing editor Col Allan of racism, sexism, and all-round dickishiness of the highest order.
Sandra Guzman was an editor at the Post charged with running, among other things, a section aimed at Latino readers. After the paper published a Sean Delonas cartoon depicting President Barack Obama as a chimpanzee being gunned down by white police officers, she complained internally about what she saw as the paper's persistent and overt racism under the leadership of Australian he-man Col Allan. Then she got fired.
Yesterday, she filed a complaint in federal court alleging systematic racism in the Post's hiring, firing, and editorial practices, and depicting Allan as a stupid, giggling frat-boy who likes to show his female employees pictures of naked men for kicks. The complaint has all sorts of damning allegations—you can read the whole thing here, but some of the good bits are below. Guzman has separately filed a complaint against the Post with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The lawsuit comes just one day after the paper fired reporter Austin Fenner, one of the few remaining African-American reporters on the paper's staff—we're told there are just three others, one of whom has been on an extended sick leave for most of the year. We're also told that the paper—a metro daily in New York City—has no African-American editors, and hasn't for nine years. UPDATE: A tipster points out Robert George, an editor on the Post's editorial page, is an African American. Our sources on the Post's demographics were thinking of the news and features pages.
SECOND UPDATE: According to two other tipsters, business editor Jay Sherman is an African American as well. For the record, we asked a rep for the Post about the paper's demographics, and got an e-mailed statement, printed below, in response.
We've contacted the Post to confirm that and for a response to Guzman's complaint, and we'll publish it when we get one.
Here are some of the allegations:
The Post, Guzman says, was a "hostile work environment" for women and non-white staffers, who are subject to "pervasive and systemic discrimination" and "harassment":
Allan's "inappropriate and sexist comments and conduct have been widely known throughout" the Post. For instance, he likes to show ladies what penises look like. He thinks it's funny!
He also, Guzman says, likes to rub his penis up against his female employees, whether they want him to or not:
Other editors at the paper, following Allan's classy lead, have taken to offering female staffers better jobs in exchange for blow jobs:
Allan's colleague Les Goodstein, a News Corp. senior vice president, thinks latin ladies are hot, and told Guzman so. He also liked to lick his lips while staring at other women's breasts in her presence:
The beef that precipitated Guzman's firing was over a drawing by Sean Delonas, a racist, gay-hating, and—worst of all—astoundingly humorless cartoonist. The Barack-Obama-Is-a-Dead-Chimp cartoon is not his first exceedingly tasteless offering, and at one point, Guzman says, Delonas had the bright idea of depicting Jews as sewer rats, a pitch that apparently got nixed:
Guzman's complaints about the cartoon fell on deaf ears, both because real men don't care about whiny P.C. minority-type people and because she just didn't get that the whole point of the New York Post is to "destroy Barack Obama." At least that's what she says the paper's Washington bureau chief told her:
Col Allan certainly didn't care about P.C. minority-type people: When some of them staged a protest outside his newspaper, he laughed at them because "most of them are minorities and the majority are uneducated." Unlike the Post's highly sophisticated, Sean Delonas-loving readership:
Allan felt the same way about the vanishingly small number of non-white employees he oversees. When one of them approached him to discuss his feelings about the cartoon, Allan simply walked away:
After Guzman made her feelings public in an e-mail stating that she had raised her objections to the cartoon to management—an e-mail that got picked up by the Huffington Post and other blogs—Allan, she says, launched a crusade against her. His animus, according to Guzman, overwhelmed his news judgment. In August, Guzman—who is a personal friend of Justice Sonia Sotomayor—was invited as a guest to a White House reception celebrating Sotomayor's confirmation. No other reporters were to be present. Guzman asked for permission to cover and report on the event, and Allan said no. Granted, her personal relationship and status as a guest would make such an assignment weird, but a) it could have been disclosed and presented as an insider account, and b) since when has the Post cared about conflicts of interest? Especially when they have a chance to get an exclusive about a highly newsworthy event? Of all the transgressions listed in Guzman's complaint, this is perhaps the most shocking—that Allan let his hatred of Obama, Sotomayor, and Guzman kill a potential scoop.
There's much more, so do read the complaint in its entirety. We're sure Rupert Murdoch will, using his sophisticated racism-detecting system to determine that Guzman is full of it. Because if Glenn Beck's not a racist, then Col Allan certainly isn't, right?
UPDATE: The Post has released a statement responding to the complaint.
This lawsuit has no merit and is based on charges that are groundless. As previously stated, Ms. Guzman's position was eliminated when the section she edited was discontinued due to a decline in advertising sales.