On December 21, 2021, Wigdor LLP filed a gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of Brittany Kaplan against Entertainment Weekly (“EW”) and its parent company, Dotdash Meredith Corporation.
The lawsuit alleges that EW sidelined Ms. Kaplan in retaliation for her repeated complaints about the hostile and discriminatory work atmosphere fostered by former Editor-in-Chief JD Heyman.
Ms. Kaplan is an accomplished producer and talent booker with 15 years of experience in the media and entertainment industry. As set forth in the Complaint, she joined EW in May 2016 as an Associate Producer and was quickly promoted to Senior Editor after just three and a half months.
EW hired Mr. Heyman in July 2019, shortly after Ms. Kaplan received a significant pay raise, the lawsuit states. The Complaint outlines numerous examples of Mr. Heyman’s alleged racist, sexist and homophobic conduct toward women and BIPOC staff and celebrity talent.
As alleged, when Ms. Kaplan reported Mr. Heyman’s discriminatory behavior to Human Resources, the company took no action to rectify the situation, which only encouraged Mr. Heyman to act more egregiously and unlawfully. After almost a year and a half of hostility, EW abruptly terminated Mr. Heyman in December 2020, the lawsuit alleges. However, as alleged, the company refused to publicly condemn Mr. Heyman’s racist, sexist and homophobic behavior.
Instead, as alleged, EW stripped away virtually all of Ms. Kaplan’s job responsibilities, denied her a title promotion and pay raise that was previously promised to her, and told her she should look elsewhere within the company for a new position. It was apparent that EW simply hoped Ms. Kaplan would leave the company in order to avoid the obvious liability if she were terminated, the Complaint alleges.
Wigdor LLP is proud to represent @EW Senior Editor Brittany Kaplan.
Ms. Kaplan alleges she was sidelined over her repeated complaints into the toxic and discriminatory work atmosphere fostered by former Editor-in-Chief JD Heyman. https://t.co/a1c4mkOADc
— WigdorLaw (@WigdorLaw) December 22, 2021
Ms. Kaplan is represented by Wigdor LLP Partner Michael J. Willemin.
Statement from Michael J. Willemin, Partner at Wigdor LLP:
“Today’s filing is the unfortunate result of not only EW’s alleged discriminatory and retaliatory conduct, but also its utter unwillingness to take accountability for its conduct. Ms. Kaplan has attempted for years to resolve the subject of today’s lawsuit short of litigation, but her internal complaints, even those made after we were retained to represent her, fell on deaf ears. Thus, Ms. Kaplan was left with no choice but to file this action and hopes that EW will engage in the introspection necessary to remedy the continuing wrongs outlined in the Complaint.”