MANHATTAN (CN) – A second black editorial employee claims The New York Post fired him because he complained of “a patently racist cartoon depicting two white police officers shooting to death a crazed chimpanzee meant to represent President Barack Obama.” The Post’s only “female editor of color” sued the newspaper on similar allegations in November.
The now-notorious cartoon shows a chimpanzee shot to death by two policemen in an alley, with one of the officers saying, “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.”
In his federal complaint, Austin Fenner claims “the racial animus at the Post was further exemplified on February 18, 2009,” when the newspaper published the offensive cartoon.
“As an African-American man familiar with the history in this country of black people being portrayed as gorillas, apes and monkey, Mr. Fenner recognized the racist nature of the cartoon and was deeply offended that his employers would publish a cartoon implicitly approving of the assassination of the first black President of the united States while likening him to a dead monkey,” the complaint states.
It continues: “The Company fostered an environment such that any employee with the courage to complain about the discrimination that pervades the workplace, whether directly to management or in a public forum, would be subjected to unlawful retaliation by, among other things, stripping them of their job duties, openly and unfairly criticizing their work performance, denying them necessary told to successfully perform their job and unlawfully terminating their employment.”
That’s what happened to him after he “opposed the racist cartoon,” Fenner says. He was fired on Nov. 9.
Before he was fired Fenner says, “White editors at the Post routinely humiliated and openly cursed at (him) … even banning him from the newsroom for over five months based on his race and/or color.”
He seeks reinstatement, lost wages and punitive damages. He is represented by Kenneth Thompson with Thompson, Wigdor & Gilly.
In the previous complaint, Sandra Guzman, who described herself as an Emmy Award-winning journalist, said the Post harassed and fired her after she complained about its publishing “a racist, offensive and dangerous cartoon suggesting the assassination of President Barack Obama.”
In her complaint in New York County Court, Guzman said she was the national tabloid’s only female editor of color. She too is represented by Kenneth Thompson.