The lawsuit brought against WFOR-CBS4 by a cameraman who claims he was demoted for filming star reporter Jim DeFede using angles that make him look “fat” is headed to mediation, a last ditch attempt to settle before a trial scheduled for early next year.
Black Muslim photographer Muhamad Hassan, 57, who used his birth name of Wilfred Ardley when he filed in April, alleges religious, racial and age discrimination on the part of the network-owned station, his employer since 1989.
While the action mentions skirmishes with managers who, for example, asked Hassan if he’d “shoot up” the newsroom when he raised his voice, a large part of the lawsuit centers around his work with investigative reporter DeFede.
Ardley claims station bigs asked him to “protect DeFede’s figure” by “filming him in the right angles.” The complaint says Ardley complied but was reprimanded and demoted after being accused of calling the plus-sized DeFede fat.
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In its response to the accusations, station lawyers wrote the demotion and “all employment-related decisions made with respect to [Hassan] were made for legitimate, nondiscriminatory and non-retaliatory reasons.”
Besides, the response reads, the station makes “good-faith efforts” to prevent discrimination among its staff.
Already, the federal court in Miami has set a trial date for April 16 but has ordered Hassan and CBS4 to attempt to hammer out a settlement in mediation.
Both have picked retired Judge Scott J. Silverman as mediator.
CBS4 General Manager Adam Levy didn’t respond to an email requesting comment.