LOS ANGELES (CN) – Celebrity gossip website TMZ is run as a sexually abusive boys club, a woman writer says in a complaint of harassment, retaliation and wrongful firing.
Catherine “Taryn” Hillin sued TMZ Productions, EHM Productions, Warner Bros., and her direct supervisor, executive producer Evan Rosenblum, in Superior Court.
Hillin began working for TMZ in February 2012 as a producer, she says in the lawsuit. She says she “was the only female writer on the defendants’ website staff. Immediately after her employment commenced with defendants, plaintiff learned that defendant TMZ was known as a ‘boys club’ that favored the male employees over the female employees. In fact, another employee told plaintiff at the start of her employment, ‘Good luck being a girl writer.’ Plaintiff learned that defendant usually fire the female writers within weeks and there was only one female writer who previously worked for defendants for approximately nine (9) months.”
She claims that Rosenblum “made derogatory and discriminatory comments” to her, “including, ‘Don’t be a girl,’ and ‘Never cry in front of me.'”
She claims Rosenblum “routinely” yelled at and humiliated her in front of other employees, telling her, “You’re fucking shit,” disparaged her to others, and in at least one case, approved an assignment and “then later decided that he did not like it when he learned that plaintiff wrote the article rather than one of the male employees.”
She says the sexual harassment and bias included pay scales and opportunities for promotion, as well the hostile, sexist work environment.
She claims TMZ was aware of all this, including “Roseblum’s harassing and discriminatory treatment towards plaintiff on the basis of her gender. Defendants’ employees made comments to plaintiff, including, ‘TMZ hates women,’ ‘Evan [Rosenblum] hates women,’ and ‘Sorry they treat you like that, you know how TMZ is with women.'”
Hillin says she complained repeatedly about Rosenblum’s discriminatory treatment and the hostile work environment, for which TMZ fired her, on a pretext.
She seeks lost wages and benefits and punitive damages for sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, failure to prevent harassment and discrimination, retaliation and wrongful firing.
She is represented by Jennifer Clingo.
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