Former TMZ Employee Suing For Wrongful Termination Says He Committed No Race Discrimination

Harvey Levin, founder of celebrity gossip site

Jarrett Gaeta, former producer for TMZ, is suing the company for wrongful termination. In addition to wrongful termination, Gaeta is alleging breach of contract, breach of good faith and emotional duress. 

TMZ, a popular celebrity gossip and entertainment news site, fired Gaeta on April 4, 2014 for racist behavior (which he denies.) Because of his termination and tainted reputation, Gaeta claims he has been unable to find work. 

Gaeta said he became a target of internal TMZ investigation for racist behavior after his African-American male subordinate was terminated. The African-American male was fired after being caught rifling through Gaeta’s trash, using his computer, scrolling through his phone and reading his emails. As part of the investigation, Gaeta was accused of asking his subordinate derogatory questions and saying racist remarks including the “N” word. He was also accused of sending his subordinate photos of a gorilla, Bobby Brown, slices of watermelon, cocoa butter cream, and Samuel L. Jackson. Though Gaeta denied all of the allegations and TMZ said they believed him, they still terminated him.

Being fired for racial discrimination when you did not do it is not wrongful termination by itself. For the termination to be illegal it must violate some law. Wonder if Gaeta believes this was just a front for some other illegal reason for his termination. What do you think? Please voice your opinion in the comments below. 

*photo by Lotus Carroll, Flickr

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