Is it fair for an African American to use the “n” word, but not a white person? That’s what a federal court in Philadelphia may have to decide.
Former Fox29 reporter-anchor Tom Burlington, white, sued the station, claiming it had a double standard over the usage of the word and that he was a victim of racial discrimination. U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick denied Burlington’s claim of a hostile work environment, but has ruled that Burlington’s lawsuit can go to trial.
In a June 2007 staff meeting reporters and producers form the station were discussing a story by Robin Taylor about the burial of the word by the Philadelphia Youth Council of the NAACP. During the meeting, Burlington said “does this mean we can finally say the word n-?” after Taylor used the phrase “n” word while discussing her story.
Burlington claims to have used the word only once, but other reports have him using the word at least a dozen times.
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