Lawsuit Claims Al Roker ‘Circumvented’ DEI Quotas on PBS Kids Show ‘Weather Hunters,’ Fired Producer for Objecting

Pictured: Al Roker on Tuesday, December 19, 2023 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC via Ge
Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty Images

TV weatherman Al Roker and his production company have been sued by a producer who alleges he was fired after objecting to the company’s failure to implement diversity initiatives for an upcoming PBS animated show.

The suit alleges black writers were brought in merely to touch up scripts written by white staffers in order to give the appearance of a diverse writers room, according to multiple reports.

Bill Schultz — whose long career in TV animation includes The Simpsons and King of the Hill — filed the suit this week in a New York federal court, claiming Al Roker Entertainment “callously disregarded” a diversity, equity and inclusion program mandated by PBS for the show Weather Hunters.

Al Roker has promoted the upcoming Weather Hunters on NBC’s Today show, calling it a “passion project that I’ve been trying to develop for the past ten years.”

Schultz’s lawsuit contends that Al Roker Entertainment executives had complete authority to manage the series and ended up treating PBS’s DEI Policy as “discretionary and an obstacle to be circumvented.”

The filing states: “Instead of giving the chances to BIPOC writers as had been the plan, the story editor, repeating a strategy previously advocated and backed by Al Roker Entertainment management in writing, wanted to have ‘non-BIPOC’ writers write the stories, and then bring on a ‘BIPOC’ writer and after the stories/episodes [were] shaped, they could be ‘hand[ed] off to BIPOC writers.”

Schultz alleges Roker’s company treated DEI as a “box to be checked in the most expedient manner possible” and as an “impediment to business as usual.”

It remains unclear when Weather Hunters is supposed to debut on PBS.

DEI has quickly become a core corporate value in Hollywood. Studios including the Walt Disney Company have implemented DEI policies in its hiring practices on both the corporate level as well as in terms of creative talent for TV show and movies.

Even the Academy Awards has implemented DEI quotas for all best picture contenders.

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Authored by David Ng via Breitbart April 18th 2024