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Ex-NY Post editor sues paper, claims racism, sexism
NEW YORK |
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former New York Post editor has sued the newspaper and its parent, News Corp, saying she was fired after complaining about sexism and racism, including a cartoon that appeared to liken U.S. President Barack Obama to a chimpanzee.
The lawsuit, filed on Monday in Manhattan federal court, said that Sandra Guzman, a black and Puerto Rican associate editor, was fired on September 29 in retaliation for complaints about pervasive racism and sexism at the newspaper.
The lawsuit said Guzman, the "only female editor of color at the Post," was among those who complained about a February 18 cartoon that depicted a policeman shooting a crazed chimpanzee, a play on an actual incident in Connecticut.
The caption read: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill." This led many people to view the chimpanzee as a depiction of Obama, who a day earlier had signed into law a $787 billion economic stimulus package.
New York Post Chairman Rupert Murdoch later apologized to readers for the cartoon.
A spokeswoman for the newspaper said Guzman's position was eliminated when Tempo, a monthly insert she edited, was closed as advertising sales in the newspaper industry declined.
"This lawsuit has no merit and is based on charges that are groundless," the spokeswoman said.
Guzman and her lawyer were not available for comment.
According to the lawsuit, Guzman worked for the newspaper for six years and had received strong performance reviews as recently as July.
The lawsuit contained allegations of racist or sexist conduct at the paper, citing as one example a senior executive who, according to the lawsuit, often referred to Guzman as "Cha Cha #1."
Guzman is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, including for emotional distress and harm to her career.
The case is Guzman v. News Corp et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 09-9323.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)
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