AT&T fires president over racist text; $100M lawsuit goes on
LOS ANGELES (AP) - AT&T Inc. on Tuesday confirmed that it has fired Aaron Slator, a president who became the subject of a $100 million discrimination lawsuit for using his work phone to send racially offensive images.
"There is no place for demeaning behavior within AT&T and we regret the action was not taken earlier," the company said.
The images in question were found on Slator's phone by an assistant who was asked to transfer data to a new phone, according to the lawsuit filed Monday by Knoyme King, a 50-year-old black woman who worked for Slator.
One of the images, apparently of an African child dancing with the caption "It's Friday ..." followed by a term offensive to African Americans, had been sent in a text describing it as an "oldie but a goodie," the lawsuit said.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, names as defendants Slator, the company, CEO Randall Stephenson, other executives and board member Joyce Roche.
Slator was president of content and advertising sales, managing its multibillion-dollar budget for content acquisition that is consumed by subscribers of Dallas-based AT&T's U-verse TV service.
King's lawyer, Skip Miller, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the lawsuit will continue. He said the company failed to take action earlier, despite the issue being brought to the attention of its board of directors and human resources department.
"This is an AT&T problem, it's not just an Aaron Slator problem," he said.
The lawsuit alleges that King was passed over for promotions and given inferior raises because of her race, that she was mistreated and that attempts were made to have her leave the company. King has worked 30 years for AT&T and is still employed there, Miller said.
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