Harassment Claimed at Tyler Perry Studios

     ATLANTA (CN) – A former employee of Tyler Perry Studios says in court he was sexually harassed by his supervisor and wrongfully fired.
     Joshua Sole, a former production assistant, filed a $5 million lawsuit against Tyler Perry, Tyler Perry Studios and Brett Hendrix in the Atlanta Federal Court on May 13. The lawsuit also accuses Perry of libel.
     Tyler Perry Studios is located in southwest Atlanta, where the entertainment mogul’s television shows such as “For Better or Worse” and “Love Thy Neighbor” are produced.
     In the 17-page complaint, Sole claims Hendrix, his supervisor, “subjected him to verbal and physical sexual harassment.”
     According to the complaint, Sole was “obligated to work in an atmosphere that was hostile to males by virtue or unsolicited and unwelcome sexual advances, sexual comments, sex-based comments, sexual innuendo and other sexually charged content.”
     Sole alleges Hendrix, who holds the position of continuity coordinator, inappropriately touched him, called him “baby” and told him he “missed him.” Hendrix “made a practice of flirting with Plaintiff Sole in anticipation of sexual favors” and “made personal calls and texts of a sexual nature to Plaintiff Sole.”
     Sole says that when he complained about Hendrix’s conduct, “Defendants took steps to adversely impact the plaintiff’s employment.”
     According to the complaint, Sole lost seniority, was suspended and “removed from the workplace in the direction of the defendants and was arrested for no reason.” Sole was later fired.
     The complaint says Tyler Perry Studios is in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects people from employment discrimination as well as the Civil Rights Act of 1991.
     “Defendant Tyler Perry Studios, LLC, is accordingly charged with knowledge of the sexually offensive conduct of a high-level employee,” the complaint says. “The plaintiff was subjected to a hostile work environment which altered the terms and conditions of his employment.”
     Sole is also seeking damages for retaliation, negligent and reckless failure to provide plaintiff with a safe work environment, negligent and wrongful hiring, supervision and retention, ratification, intentional infliction of emotional distress, battery, invasion of privacy, libel and bad faith.
     Sole accuses Perry of libel, saying the entertainment mogul called him “mentally disturbed” on social media on Nov. 7, 2014, and that the comments were shared by “various online media outlets.”
     Because of Perry’s comments on social media, Sole has suffered from anxiety and depression, the complaint says.
     Sole is represented by Atlanta-based attorney Kwame Johnson.
     A representative of Tyler Perry Studios declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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