White Male Writer Sues CBS For “Reverse Discrimination”

CBS Studios and its parent Paramount have been sued in a “reverse discrimination” case for allegedly carrying diversity quotas that discriminate against straight white men.

Brian Beneker, a script coordinator on CBS’s show “SEAL Team” filed a lawsuit against CBS Studios for carrying diversity quotas that discriminate against straight white men. Beneker claimed CBS violated discrimination laws by enacting discriminatory diversity quotas that kept white, straight men out of its writers’ room. He was repeatedly denied a staff writer job after the implementation of an “Illegal policy of race and sex balancing” that promoted the hiring of “less qualified applicants who were members of more preferred groups,” namely those who identify as part of a minority group, the LGBTQ community, or women.

In his complaint, Beneker detailed instances in which he was allegedly passed up for staff writing positions in favor of Black or women candidates, who he claimed were less experienced than he was and often had no writing credits.

In 2019, when he asked why a Black writer was hired instead of him, he was allegedly told by the showrunner that it was because CBS wanted a minority to satisfy racial quotas for its writers’ rooms. The studio indicated to him that he “did not check any diversity boxes” as a straight, white man.

The complaint argues CBS’ hiring practices have “created a situation where heterosexual, white men need ‘extra’ qualifications, such as military experience or previous writing credits, to be hired as staff writers when compared to their nonwhite, LBTQ, or female peers.”

According to the complaint, CBS carries racial quotas. In a 2022 interview, CBS Entertainment Group chief executive George Cheeks stated that he set a goal that all writers rooms on the network’s primetime series be made up of at least 40 percent minorities for the 2021-22 season. Seventeen of 21 shows hit or exceeded that target, he said.

For the 2022-23 broadcast season, the network said in 2020 that half of all writers must be nonwhite as part of a broad initiative to “more accurately reflect diversity both on-screen and behind-the-camera.”

Beneker’s “reverse discrimination” lawsuit brings claims under section 1981 for race discrimination in the making and enforcement of private contracts and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, religion, and sex, among other things.


Share this article


Related Articles