Producers at Vin Di Bona Productions, the production company behind ABC’s long-running series America’s Funniest Home Videos, are being sued. Three former female employees at the company have brought the lawsuit.
The women are seeking damages. Among the things they allege taking place are “gender violence, racial discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, retaliation" and more, per Deadline. Their lawsuit was filed on March 19 and is only now hitting the headlines.
The three women, whose identities are anonymous, allege that the company did nothing regarding the behavior of Philip Shafran. He was the supervisor of the woman referred to as Jane Roe 1. She worked as the Senior Manager of Digital Partnership at Vin Di Bona. Roe 1 was also involved with Business Development.
The lawsuit alleges that Jane Roe 1, who is African-American, endured a repeated pattern of racial prejudice while working at Vin Di Bona. Roe 1 says that she was ostracized by her Caucasian supervisors, including two particular women.
Jane Roe 1 alleges that Philip Shafran, who is Caucasian, would make offensive comments regarding Roe 1’s race to her. Shafran’s alleged behavior included him making comments if Roe 1 did not do things “Shafran stereotypically believed African-American people should do.”
It is also alleged that another supervisor announced Jane Roe 1 at the podium during an event by making a comment about Roe 1 doing drugs in the bathroom. Roe 1 says that after that, the woman then made comments "directed at her race."
Jane Roe 1 went on to assert that there was pressure to drink alcohol while at activities relating to Vin Di Bona. She stated that those who did not partake got subjected to “blatant pressure” and “mocking.”
After the event, Jane Roe 1 reported the alleged harassment to management at Vin Di Bona. She says members of management were present at that event. Roe 1 asserts that no action was taken against Philip Shafran or the two supervisors.
Days after she filed the report, Jane Roe 1 was terminated from the company. She alleges this was retaliation for reporting “unlawful workplace harassment.”
The lawsuit also includes allegations against Philip Shafran for sexually harassing Jane Roe 2. She alleges that he took photos of her while playing a video game in his office. Among them, ones taken up her skirt with his cell phone.
Jane Roe 2 reported this to Jane Roe 3, who took action. Roe 3 made sure that Roe 2 did not have meetings alone with Philip Shafran. Roe 2 eventually filed a police report against Shafran. Roe 3 told her supervisor she “struggled” to work with Shafran because of what she believed he did to Roe 2.
Jane Roe 3 said that Vin Di Bona said an investigation of the claims had "found nothing wrong." Both women told Vin Di Bona they “felt unsafe in their workplace” and explained they would have to resign, “in light of the situation.” They, like Jane Roe 1, were eventually terminated.
Following the lawsuit, Vin Di Bona’s lawyer, David Fink, issued a statement saying that it has placed Philip Shafran on administrative leave, which went into effect immediately. The three women are asking for a jury trial. Only time will tell if the women are successful in their suit.
Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.
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