The Roots drummer and The Tonight Show bandleader Questlove has weighed in on the racial discrimination lawsuit against him. In a statement to HipHopDX, the musician and activist called the unusual allegations filed against him “disrespectful.”
Questlove feels that their accusations of racial discrimination in the matter are a slap in the face. “Questlove denies the ridiculous allegations made in this lawsuit,” says his representation in the statement. “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.”
According to the plaintiffs, they were fired at Questlove’s insistence as recipients of an unsolicited text message of a racist and misogynist joke. Kurt Decker and Michael Cimino, two former NBC camera operators insist that they were blamed for the text, which was also forwarded to Roots band member Mark Kelley, but that they did not send it and immediately reported it to supervisors at NBC. They maintain that they were blamed for the text because they are white, and were targeted for termination for that reason. They are reportedly each seeking $1 million in damages. Given NBC’s statement that they were fired on the sole judgment of the network’s management, and their need to prove that Questlove wanted them fired for their race, they will have a difficult time proving discrimination.