Largest US newspaper publisher sued for anti-white discrimination

The largest newspaper publisher in the United States has been slapped with a lawsuit for discriminating against white employees after attempting to diversify its newsrooms.

Gannett Co. Inc., the publisher for USA Today and others, is facing a class action lawsuit that was filed in Virginia federal court by five current and former Gannett employees. They claim they were terminated or passed over for promotion because they were white and the company wanted to make room for less-qualified women and minorities according to The Washington Free Beacon.

A purported policy that was announced back in 2020 where the newspaper publisher planned to have its newsrooms reflect the demographics of the communities they cover by 2025 prompted the suit by plaintiffs. They also reportedly tied executive bonuses and promotions to those goals according to the lawsuit.

“Gannett executed their reverse race discrimination policy with a callous indifference towards civil rights laws or the welfare of the workers, and prospective workers, whose lives would be upended by it,” the suit contends.

In 2020, Gannett also vowed to “expand the number of journalists focused on covering issues related to race and identity, social justice and equality,” USA Today reported.

Polly Grunfeld Sack, who is Virginia-based Gannett’s chief legal counsel, asserted that the publisher always recruits and hires the most qualified employees.

“We will vigorously defend our practice of ensuring equal opportunities for all our valued employees against this meritless lawsuit,” Sack proclaimed via a statement.

Gannett is not alone in getting massive backlash over leftist diversity policies. But unlike other cases that have been brought by conservative groups over the practice, Gannett’s suit is filed by its employees.

In July, The Washington Free Beacon reported, “…Discriminatory fellowships and programs, which companies often establish on the basis of elite law firms’ ‘civil rights’ advice, are now prime targets for legal scrutiny since the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in college admissions in June.”

Noah Peters, who is the former solicitor of the Federal Labor Relations Authority, told the Free Beacon in an interview that these programs “are lawsuits waiting to happen.”

The Beacon also reported, “Law schools are also gearing up for a fight over their policies to boost diversity. Top law school administrators from the University of California Berkeley and the University of Michigan last month huddled to discuss how to protect those programs. They suggested schools take steps to avoid creating a ‘record’ of ‘discriminatory intent.'”

“Starbucks Corp, Target Corp, and Progressive Insurance are among the companies that have faced shareholder lawsuits challenging diversity programs. A group founded by former Trump administration officials has filed more than a dozen complaints with a federal anti-bias agency accusing large companies of discriminating against white and male workers,” the media outlet continued.

The suit against Gannett contends that the Supreme Court ruled in its decision that “eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it.”

The American Alliance for Equal Rights, which was formed by conservative activist Edward Blum, sued two major US law firms over fellowships that they offered to LGBT individuals and racial minorities in a similar move.

“A nonprofit founded by Edward Blum, who organized the lawsuits against Harvard and the University of North Carolina’s racial preferences in admissions that led to the Supreme Court striking down affirmative action, also sued an Atlanta-based investment manager on Aug. 2 over a grant program for black women,” The Daily Signal reported concerning Blum’s efforts.

Gannett plaintiff Steven Bradley claims he was terminated from his management position at the Democrat and Chronicle newspaper in Rochester, New York, and was also passed over for another position with the publisher simply because he is white.

In April, Bradley filed a similar suit against the publisher in New York state court.

Logan Barry, another plaintiff, contends that he was on track for a promotion at the Progress Index in Petersburg, Virginia before Gannett bought the paper in 2019. The job he says he should have landed was subsequently handed to a black woman who was less qualified according to the suit.

He is charging that Gannett violated a federal law prohibiting race discrimination in contracts.

The lawsuit is seeking to force Gannet to nix the 2020 policy. It is also seeking lost pay, benefits, and other money damages for the plaintiffs.

In July, 13 Republican attorneys general wrote a letter to executives of major corporations discouraging them from using affirmative action policies in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision.

“We urge you to immediately cease any unlawful race-based quotas or preferences your company has adopted for its employment and contracting practices,” they wrote. “If you choose not to do so, know that you will be held accountable — sooner rather than later — for your decision to continue treating people differently because of the color of their skin.”

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