Broadcaster Casey Stern has filed a discrimination complaint against WarnerMedia and Turner Sports for being removed from his anchoring roles for TBS’s MLB postseason coverage and NBA TV.
Last October, Stern revealed to the New York Post‘s Andrew Marchand that his three children (ages six, five, and three) were allegedly being abused by his ex-wife and her boyfriend. Both were charged with felony counts of child cruelty.
Concern over his children’s welfare — in addition to trying to get law enforcement and the courts to intervene while spending significant money on forensic evaluators, doctors, guardians, lawyers, and therapists — prevented Stern from traveling to host coverage of events like Kobe Bryant’s death and Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, and call play-by-play for U.S. National Basketball games.
This past October, Ernie Johnson replaced Stern as studio host for TBS’ pre- and postgame shows during the MLB postseason. With that news, reports of Stern’s difficulties and legal battles with his ex-wife and her boyfriend over child abuse came to light.
Stern is still under contract with Turner until August 2021. But according to the complaint, the company will not be using him on the air and will hold him to his contract, preventing him from seeking TV work elsewhere. (Stern still hosts Inside Pitch on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio.)
The complaint also alleges several instances in which Stern said Turner executives showed little sympathy for his circumstances and concern over his children, diminishing them as making excuses for not working.
“In one particularly offensive incident, John O’Connor, NBA TV’s Executive Producer, responded to an accommodation request by suggesting that Mr. Stern was using his children – who were being beaten by his ex-wife and her boyfriend – as an ‘excuse’ to avoid work assignments. Specifically, Mr. O’Connor said, ‘When are you going to stop using this’ family situation as an excuse?”
Courtesy of Deadline, the entire complaint is available to read online.
Following going public with his children’s alleged abuse and his ordeal in addressing their plight, Stern announced that he launched a foundation called Operation ExHale with the purpose of raising both awareness and money, to assist families in desperate need of help protecting their children from the horrors of child abuse.”
In addition to accepting donations through its website, Operation ExHale is also planning 24-hour telethons, 5K runs, and a charity softball game and auction involving former and current MLB players.
“Mr. Stern was a rising star within the company who had leapfrogged his way up the depth charts and earned increasingly important assignments,” the complaint alleges (via TheWrap).
“All of that stopped, and his career progression reversed, when the company learned about his family troubles and began discriminating against Mr. Stern because he is a man. Indeed, the company believed that as a man, Mr. Stern should be obligated to subjugate his family and always put work first.”