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Ex-Wife of T. Boone Pickens Sued for Race Discrimination and Retaliation

Emanuel Shirazi

Madeline Pickens, the ex-wife of T. Boone Pickens, is being sued by an employee for racial discrimination. Armand Appling, an African-American chef formerly working for Ms. Pickens’ country club in Southern California and dude ranch in rural Nevada, claims that Pickens recruited him so that he would cook “black people food” for the ranch’s guests. In addition, Pickens observed the following inappropriate behavior:

  1. Pickens told Appling that he should cook fried chicken, BBQ ribs, and corn bread for guests, instead of “white people food.”
  2. Appling says that it was common for Pickens to make stereotypical references in the workplace.
  3. Appling believes he was fired out of retaliation when he complained about the hostile working environment.
  4. Pickens told Appling to fire two black members of the kitchen staff because they didn’t fit the image of people working at a country club.
  5. Pickens referred to one black staffer as her “bull” or “ox”.
  6. Pickens said another black staffer had “too much personality”.

Pickens’ defense team negates the notion that her remarks were racially motivated. Instead, they claim that her comments, if true, were merely discourteous, rude, or insensitive. So far, Appling’s legal team has had a hard time proving that Pickens’ comments were indeed racially motivated.

What do you think of the discrimination claims?  What if it were a Chinese person hired to to cook Chinese food—would that be race discrimination?

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