DeWayne Walker, a black man who has been with the company for 16 years, claims the threat came during a men’s room conversation in August with Whit Friese, a white network vice president.
“Just drop it,” Friese said about the complaint, Walker told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Friese allegedly added later, “If you f--- with my money, I will kill you.”
Walker told the newspaper he reported the confrontation to CNN’s human resources department a few days later – then he himself was placed on paid leave the following day and has remained on paid leave for more than three months.
In November, Walker filed a new complaint, accusing the network of never disciplining Friese over the comments.
“It’s a travesty and a sham,” Walker’s attorney, Mario Williams of Williams Oinonen LLC, told the Journal-Constitution. “You’re using an administrative process to punish a person who made the complaint. The next best thing to firing someone is keeping him out of the office on administrative leave with pay even though he’s the victim.”
“It’s a travesty and a sham. You’re using an administrative process to punish a person who made the complaint. The next best thing to firing someone is keeping him out of the office on administrative leave with pay even though he’s the victim.”
Walker, a manager of integrated marketing for CNN, claims he has been bypassed for promotion because of his race – and has filed several discrimination lawsuits, the newspaper reported.
He has also alleged that a pattern of “systemic discrimination against African American employees, particularly males,” is evident at the company. He claims that minorities who complain about their treatment are placed on a BOLO (“Be on the lookout for”) list.
But Walker’s previous lawsuits have been dismissed, with judges typically ruling that Walker lacked sufficient evidence to justify his claims.
Executives with CNN did not respond to the Journal-Constitution’s requests for comment.
Fox News also reached out to CNN in Atlanta but received no response.