A Black conservative radio show host said he was fired by a Canadian media conglomerate for not being “woke” enough.
Jamil Jivani, 35, is suing Bell Media claiming he was fired as the company’s only full-time Black talk show host because his views didn’t match the stereotype expected from a Black man.
The company, which operates the iHeartRadio talk radio network in Canada, said Jivani failed “to respect” Bell’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) principles.
Attorney Kathryn Marshall, a partner at Toronto-based Levitt Sheikh, represents Jivani.
“This case highlights what is wrong with Corporate Canada,” Marshall said in a statement to Newsmax. “Bell had an expectation that because my client is Black, he should have been ticking a tokenism box and espousing a certain liberal worldview that they thought he should be espousing as a member of the Black community.
“When it turned out that he is a free-minded individual with a worldview that didn’t fit Bell’s narrative, he was fired. This case is an egregious example of wrongful dismissal and bad faith conduct.”
Jivani, whose show began in February 2021 during Black History Month was fired in January. He said his job was terminated because the show’s content and guests were not “diverse” enough, an allegation the host rejects.
“As news stories around Black Lives Matter and other racial issues faded from the news, Bell no longer had the same use for a Black employee,” a statement of claim said. “Tensions increased from Bell management when the Plaintiff would share his perspectives, views and beliefs.
“It became clear that Bell had a rigid but unspoken vision for how Black people should fit into the company. Bell wanted the Plaintiff to be a token beholden to the company’s identity politics.”
Jivani also said that as Canada Day 2021 approached, Bell management pressured him “to denounce Canada as racist.”
“On-air talent were instructed to air pre-produced segments that defined Canada by the worst parts of the country’s history,” the statement of claim said.
Jivani filed suit in September claiming breach of contract and wrongful dismissal.
Bell Media has denied the allegations.
“Prior to the termination of the Plaintiff, Bell had serious concerns regarding the Plaintiff’s failure to respect Bell’s DEI principles as set out in its Code of Business Conduct and different DEI initiatives, including his open disdain for the Company’s efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within the organization,” the company says in its statement of defense.
The company said it had concerns that Jivani invited guests to his show who “espoused ‘anti-vax’ views and spread false information about the necessity and efficacy of [COVID] vaccines and alternative therapies such as hydroxychloroquine.”
Bell Media also claimed that Jivani “demonstrated gross and intolerable insubordination and a disdainful attitude toward [his manager Hilary] Whyte by alleging that Whyte had leveled ‘baseless smears’ against him.” The company also said declining ratings contributed to his termination.
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