A former employee of Al Jazeera America is suing the network for $15 million, alleging that a manager with close ties to top executives discriminated against female employees and made disparaging remarks about Jews and Israel.
Matthew Luke, who started with the network in 2013 ahead of its launch as supervisor of media and archive management, filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court on Tuesday. In it, he alleges that Osman Mahmud, who rose through the ranks to become Luke’s supervisor as senior vice president of broadcast operations and technology, removed female employees from projects, excluded women from emails and meetings and made discriminatory, anti-Semitic and anti-American remarks such as “whoever supports Israel should die a fiery death in hell.”
Not long after Luke went to human resources to report on the behavior, he alleges he was told he did not fit into the company’s culture and was fired.
In an interview with The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple, Mahmud denied the charges, calling them a “pack of lies” and if he had said such remarks more people would’ve reported them.
The network, the American arm of the popular and widespread Al Jazeera network, was launched with big budgets and great fanfare last year after buying Current TV. But the network has struggled mightily in ratings and, according to the New York Post, is starting to lay off staffers and substitute more programming from Al Jazeera English.