B. Scott sues BET for anti-gay discrimination
Michelle Clancy | 09-08-2013
Openly gay TV and Internet personality Brandon Sessoms, aka B Scott, has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court accusing BET and its parent company Viacom of being responsible for gender identity, gender expression and ***ual orientation discrimination.
He alleges that he received disparate treatment while working as a Style Stage correspondent for the BET Awards Pre-Show, held 30 June, 2013. B Scott said he was pulled from his hosting duties after being told his transgendered appearance was unacceptable. He addressed the situation in an open letter on his website: "It's not just about the fact that BET forced me to pull my hair back, asked me to take off my make-up, made me change my clothes and prevented me from wearing a heel. It's more so that the mentality and environment created by BET made me feel ... that something was wrong with who I am as a person."
BET issued an apology note, which B Scott has rejected. "While I want nothing more than to put this incident behind me and move on with my life, I still wholeheartedly believe that I'm entitled to a true public apology" he said in a statement released via his official website. "BET's non-apology statement added more insult to injury. What happened to me was not a 'miscommunication' nor was it 'unintentional'. It was wrong. I have been vehemently trying to come to a resolution with BET and Viacom behind the scenes. After a few weeks of back and forth dialogue with no foreseeable resolution, I have filed a lawsuit against BET and its parent company Viacom for discrimination on the basis of gender identity, gender expression and ***ual orientation."
"Any form of discrimination is wrong and has no place in the work environment, in Corporate America or in Hollywood," said B Scott's representation, civil rights attorney Waukeen McCoy. McCoy successfully argued the gay marriage cases before the California Supreme Court in 2008.
Despite ongoing efforts "to resolve the issue in a discreet manner," B Scott is suing for a public apology and damages in excess of $2.5 million.