Fired 'Tonight Show' staffers accuse Roots bandleader Questlove of racial discrimination in $2 million lawsuit

Two cameramen who were fired from "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" last summer have filed a $2 million lawsuit alleging that The Roots bandleader Questlove had them fired in part because they're white.

NBC terminated Kurt Decker and Michael Cimino in June 2017 after learning of a group text exchange that included use of the N-word. According to their attorney, Decker and Cimino received the text in question from another crew member but did not respond.

The text included "a piece of fried chicken with a bite out of it with a racial slur that inevitably depicts African Americans," attorney Richard Roth told the New York Post. It was sent to Decker, Cimino and The Roots bassist Mark Kelley. Decker and Cimino allegedly did not respond to the message, which was sent in the middle of a show taping.

It is not known whether the text was intended to be sent to all three men or if any other staffers were also involved in the group chat. It is also unknown who reported the text exchange to NBC higher-ups.

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LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 13: Music group The Roots attend the 2016 MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Lionel Richie at the Los Angeles Convention Center on February 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0700 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kirk �Captain Kirk� Douglas, Stro Elliot, Ahmir 'Questlove' Thompson, and Tariq �Black Thought� Trotter of The Roots during 'Name That Song Challenge' on June 26, 2017 -- (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 21: Questlove of the Roots perform during halftime of the NFC Championship game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings at Lincoln Financial Field on January 21, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 16: (L-R) Questlove of The Roots, Singer/songwriter Tim McGraw, Black Thought of The Roots, and Comedian Steve Higgins play a trivia game on 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon' at Rockefeller Center on November 16, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 29: Questlove of The Roots performs in concert during The Roots Holiday tour at Coca-Cola Roxy on December 29, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)
Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson performed with The Roots at the MGM National Harbor, in Oxon Hill, MD, on Sunday, August 13, 2017. (Photo by Cheriss May) (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
OXON HILL, MD - AUGUST 13: Black Thought and Questlove of The Roots perform on August 13, 2017, at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, MD. (Photo by Daniel Kucin Jr./Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0763 -- Pictured: (l-r) Damon Tuba Gooding Jr. Bryson, Ian Handrickson-Smith, James Kamal Gray, Dave Guy, James Poyser, Mark Kelley, Kirk Captain Kirk Douglas, Stro Elliot, Ahmir 'Questlove' Thompson, Tariq Black Thought Trotter The Roots on October 27, 2017 -- (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0792 -- Pictured: (center l-r) Actress Anna Kendrick, Singer Darlene Love, Host Jimmy Fallon with The Roots (black l-r) James ?Kamal? Gray, Stro Elliot, Ahmir 'Questlove' Thompson, Tariq ?Black Thought? Trotter, James Poyser, Kirk ?Captain Kirk? Douglas, Mark Kelley, Damon ?Tuba Gooding Jr.? Bryson perform ''Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)' with Classroom Instruments' on December 18, 2017 -- (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 29: Questlove performs with Usher & The Roots during the 2017 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival at Fair Grounds Race Course on April 29, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0603 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actress Bryce Dallas Howard, media personality Michael Strahan, host Jimmy Fallon and Ahmir 'Questlove' Thompson of The Roots play pyramid on January 16, 2017 -- (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0614 -- Pictured: (l-r) Ahmir 'Questlove' Thompson and Tariq ?Black Thought? Trotter of The Roots on January 31, 2017 -- (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 23: Singer-songwriter Usher performs onstage with Questlove of The Roots during the Formula 1 USGP at Circuit of The Americas on October 23, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 17: Questlove of The Roots performs during the Le Savoir multi-sensory dining experience at Skylight Clarkson SQ. on August 17, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0617 -- Pictured: (l-r) Chef Gordon Ramsay, host Jimmy Fallon and Ahmir 'Questlove' Thompson of The Roots play secret ingredient game on February 3, 2017 -- (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 17: (L-R) Questlove and Black Thought of The Roots attend the Le Savoir multi-sensory dining experience at Skylight Clarkson SQ. on August 17, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26: Black Thought, Questlove, Kamal Gray, Frank 'Knuckles' Walker, Damon 'Tuba Gooding Jr.', Bryson, James Poyser and Mark Kelley The Roots attend the 2016 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
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Decker and Cimino, who are white, were fired the day after the text was sent. According to the lawsuit, Questlove personally saw to their dismissal. However, Kelley, who is African-American, was not fired.

It is not known if any other crew members were fired in addition to Decker and Cimino.

Decker and Cimino are now coming after NBC, which they say "acquiesced to Questlove’s overtly discriminatory demand."

NBC and Questlove have both responded to the lawsuit, with NBC citing "strong policies in place that protect against discrimination of any form."

The Roots have been Jimmy Fallon's house band since 2009.

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