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California Appeals Court Revives Discrimination Lawsuit Against CNN


The proposition that a media outlet can’t discriminate on the basis of race, age or disability might seem obvious, but Wilson’s lawsuit triggered a move by CNN that would later gain support from CBS, NBCU, Fox, the Los Angeles Times and the California Newspaper Publishers Association. At issue is the circumstances when a news organization’s decisions are acts in furtherance of its exercise of the constitutional right of free speech in connection with a public issue. Under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, if a media company is being hauled into court for protected activity, a person asserting a legal claim bears the burden of demonstrating a probability of prevailing before the case proceeds.

In his 2014 lawsuit, Wilson said he was a 51-year-old African- and Latino-American who worked for CNN from 1996 through the first month of 2014. An Emmy Award winner, he was fired after being accused of plagiarism in connection with a story about the retirement of Los Angeles County sheriff Lee Baca. Wilson contends this was just a pretext and that the real reasons were discriminatory in nature. He alleges he was replaced by a less-experienced Caucasion under the age of 40 and was unable to find work in broadcast journalism after CNN purposely published knowingly false statements accusing him of dishonesty in his profession. – READ MORE

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