MANHATTAN (CN) — Shock jock Don Imus was hit with a lawsuit Thursday by Warner Wolf, the 80-year-old sportscaster behind the catchphrase “Let’s go to the videotape!”
Wolf claims in the suit, which he filed with attorneys at Wigdor LLP in Manhattan Supreme Court, that age discrimination was the basis for his 2016 firing.
“Imus routinely made inappropriate comments about plaintiff’s age,” according to the complaint, “including stating that it was ‘time to put [Mr. Wolf] out to pasture’ and ‘shoot him with an elephant dart gun.'”
After he was fired and replaced with a younger sportscaster, Wolf says he was denied the $97,5000 in severance pay that his employment contract mandated. The complaint says Wolf’s salary at “Imus in the Morning” was $195,000 a year when he rejoined the broadcast in 2007.
Since the show is produced at WABC’s studio in New York, however, Wolf agreed to take home just $80,000 in 2016 so that he could work out of his home in Naples, Florida, the complaint states.
Imus fired Wolf on Oct. 31, 2016 — roughly two weeks after the salary change was confirmed, according to the complaint.
“You asked me if I was ok with you doing sports from Florida,” Imus said in an email, as quoted in the complaint. “I said I was. We tried it. It sucks.”
Calling this claim pretextual, Wolf notes that “Imus himself had provided his services for the show from his home in Texas.”
Wolf’s catchphrase appears repeatedly throughout the lawsuit.
“As the ‘videotape’ in this case will unquestionably show, defendants have failed to adhere to New York’s anti-discrimination laws, and have unlawfully discriminated against Mr. Wolf based upon his age,” the complaint states. “So, in the words of plaintiff, let’s go to the videotape.”
In addition to 77-year-old Imus, the 14-page complaint names as defendants three executives with WABC radio and its parent company Cumulus Media.
Representatives for Imus and Cumulus told the Associated Press that they declined to comment.
Imus has announced plans to conclude broadcasting of his show on March 29. Wolf’s suit notes that the show was canceled “briefly in April 2007 following a well-publicized controversy wherein Imus referred to players on the Rutgers University women’s basketball team as ‘nappy-headed hos.”
Wolf also notes that Sid Rosenberg, the much younger sportscaster Imus tapped to replace him, “had previously been fired from the show for making crude remarks about a female celebrity’s breast cancer diagnosis.” Rosenberg is not a party to the complaint.