CNN employee DeWayne Walker (right) claims exec Whit Friese threatened to kill him over discrimination lawsuit.
CNN employee DeWayne Walker (right) claims exec Whit Friese threatened to kill him over discrimination lawsuit.

Boss’s alleged sick threats to worker

A VICE president at CNN threatened to "kill" a longtime employee over a race discrimination lawsuit he filed earlier this year, a new lawsuit claims.

DeWayne Walker claims the verbal threat on his life came from his boss, Whit Friese, in a rest room at CNN Center in Atlanta on August 15, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

"Just drop it," Mr Friese, CNN's vice president and group creative director, said in reference to Mr Walker's race discrimination lawsuit filed in May, according to a new filing last month.

"Or?" Mr Walker replied, according to the suit.

Mr Friese, the lawsuit claims, then approached Mr Walker at a urinal before quietly saying: "If you f**k with my money, I will kill you."

 

 

Mr Walker reported the bathroom encounter to CNN five days later and met with a human resources manager, but he was placed on administrative leave with pay the following day, according to the lawsuit.

That prompted Mr Walker to file a new complaint last month, claiming that Friese was apparently never disciplined over the alleged threat.

"It's a travesty and a sham," Mr Walker's lawyer, Mario Williams, told the newspaper. "You're using an administrative process to punish a person who made the complaint."

Mr Walker, a CNN employee of 16 years who worked as a manager of integrated marketing, is still on leave with pay more than three months after reporting Mr Friese's alleged remarks, the newspaper reports.

"The next best thing to firing someone is keeping them out of the office on administrative leave with pay even though he's the victim," Mr Williams told the Journal-Constitution.

CNN reps, meanwhile, characterised Mr Walker's claims as "outrageous and damaging" in a statement to The Post early Thursday.

"The accusations by Mr Walker are entirely false, both with regards to his personal career development and the slanderous allegation against a co-worker that never happened," a CNN spokesperson said.

"They are the latest in more than five years of claims that have been consistently rejected by the courts and the (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). We will vigorously defend this suit in court."

Mr Walker, who first filed an EEOC complaint in 2014, has filed several lawsuits against the network alleging he wasn't promoted due to his race.

But a federal judge dismissed Mr Walker's filing in late 2015, ruling that he wasn't qualified for seven of the nine positions for which he applied, the newspaper reports.

In all, Mr Walker claims he has "never been contacted for a vast majority" of the 28 jobs he has sought at CNN, according to his May filing.

There's also a pattern of "systemic discrimination" against African-Americans, especially men, at CNN, where any minorities who complain are placed on a list called "BOLO," or "Be On the Lookout For," Mr Walker's latest filing claims.

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission