UPDATED 09:21 p.m. ET: Questlove has responded to the lawsuit via a representative. "Questlove denies the ridiculous allegations made in this lawsuit," the statement, which was provided to Pitchfork, reads. It continues, "Racism is REAL and exists throughout the world and for these gentlemen to claim victim is not only disrespectful to Questlove and his bandmates, but to all that truly endure racism on a daily basis. As NBC already stated, the decisions made regarding these employees were made by NBC, alone."
Original story below:
According to legal documents obtained by TMZ, camera operators Kurt Decker and Michael Cimino were fired from the show in 2017 after they received a racist text message from a stagehand. The plaintiffs claim they approached the network’s executives and attempted to distance themselves from the offensive text, explaining they didn’t solicit the message nor did they respond to it. But once Questlove became aware of the incident, he allegedly demanded NBC to fire Decker and Cimino.
It’s important to note that the Roots’ bassist Mark Kelley also received the aforementioned message in a group text; however, despite his involvement, Kelley was able to keep his on-air gig. Decker and Cimino insist their termination was a result of “misappropriated blame and racial retaliation from Questlove.” Basically, they believe they were fired because they were white. Kelley, who is black, reportedly avoided punishment. Other outlets report the plaintiffs are seeking millions of dollars in damages.
In a statement provided to Pitchfork, the network attempted to move blame away from Questlove by writing: "NBC is committed to providing a work environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. We have strong policies in place that protect against discrimination in any form. The decision about these plaintiffs was the company’s alone."
Stay tuned as more information about the suit becomes available.
In 2017, the Roots’ former drummer, Frank “Knuckles” Walker, filed a lawsuit against Questlove and Black Thought over unpaid royalties. In the prior year, former Roots bassist Leonard “Hub” Hubbard sued the group and its manager for violating a contract. Hubbard claimed he had signed an agreement that designated him as co-owner of the Roots; however, the group allegedly failed to fully compensate him in the years after he left the Roots in 2007.