Questlove and NBC Accused of Racial Discrimination by Two White Ex-Employees

Home / The Law / Questlove and NBC Accused of Racial Discrimination by Two White Ex-Employees

By TheBlast Staff on January 24, 2018 at 6:55 PM EST

UPDATE 8:00PM PST: A rep for Questlove tells The Blast he "Denies the ridiculous allegations made in this lawsuit. Racism is REAL and exists throughout the world and for these gentlemen to claim victim is not only disrespectful to Questlove and his bandmates, but to all that truly endure racism on a daily basis."

3:40 PM PST:NBC tells The Blast, the network is "committed to providing a work environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. We have strong policies in place that protect against discrimination in any form. The decision about these plaintiffs was the company’s alone."


Two former of employees of "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" claim they were fired at the behest of Questlove and they feel they were targeted because they were white.

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According to a lawsuit obtained by The Blast, Kurt Decker and Michael Cimino were working on the show as camera operators on June 19, 2017 when they received "an unsolicited racist and misogynist text message from a Tonight Show stagehand."

They claim a third person, Mark Kelley — a bassist for The Roots — also received the message. Kelley is African-American.

Decker and Cimino claim they did not respond to the message and later reported it to Keith McPhee (a manager of The Roots) and Bryon King, a technical production manager at NBC.

The two men claim there were both immediately suspended, but Kelley was not.

A seven-week investigation ensued and, they claim, Questlove "pressured NBC to fire all of the Caucasian employees involved in the incident."

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They also claim Questlove demanded Kelley receive no discipline.

Decker and Cimino believe this incident follows a pattern of behavior by NBC with regards to "reporting requirements in other circumstances of wrongful conduct."

They invoke the Matt Lauer incident, saying, " For example, it has been widely reported that many employees of NBC (including, of course, female victims themselves) had actual knowledge of Matt Lauer’s alleged serial sexual harassment, and yet NBC ignored and took no adverse action against any such individuals for their purported failure to report Mr. Lauer’s conduct."

Sources close to NBC claim the plaintiffs failed to report the inappropriate text, which is policy at the network.

Decker and Cimino are each seeking a million dollars in damages.

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