April 26, 2007 / 5:35 AM / 12 years ago

TV producer accused of racism, sexism

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - A Hollywood union has accused an executive producer of “Law & Order: SVU” of making racist and sexist remarks, claiming he often refers to Asian-Americans as “Chinamen.”

The Intl. Assn. of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) said it has complained to the show’s producer, NBC Universal Television, in three instances involving allegations against executive producer Ted Kotcheff over the past three years.

In the latest allegation, Kotcheff is accused of referring to a crew member as Stepin Fetchit, an old Hollywood stereotype denoting a servile, simple-minded black man.

The union said its attorneys notified NBC Universal brass in a letter dated April 7 that Kotcheff also told the crew member to “get your Caribbean ass out of here — go back to the Caribbean.”

The letter also claims Kotcheff “frequently refers to Asian Americans as ‘Chinamen’ and describes women in sexually derogatory and demeaning terms,” according to an IATSE press release distributed Wednesday.

“This kind of racist and sexist behavior is unacceptable in today’s workplace,” IATSE president Thomas Short said in a statement. “We’re here to protect our members, and when a network or studio ignores repeated requests to discipline those who are accused of these actions, the message they are sending is very clear. They don’t care.”

Kotcheff made a “half-hearted” apology after one complaint about his alleged behavior, the IATSE said. But the apology “included a demeaning remark, rendering it moot,” it added.

A spokesman for NBC Universal said the studio takes the claims “very seriously ... We investigate complaints of alleged workplace misconduct and take appropriate action based on our findings. However, we do not comment publicly on such personnel matters.”

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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