BET Busted for Banning B. Scott on Basis of Gender Identity
The multi-million dollar lawsuit against Black Entertainment Television (BET) by gender-nonconforming host B. Scott heated up this week after 41 pages of emails about the alleged incident were leaked from the cable network, revealing that media officials systematically discriminated against him on the basis of gender identity and expression. BET contends that it was a "miscommunication."
"The leaked email exchange between BET/Viacom personnel is both shocking, and hurtful. While I’m disheartened by the blatant and intentional attempt to stifle my gender identity/expression way before the day of the event, I’m also thankful that the truth is starting to surface," wrote Scott on his blog.
According to a recent article in Huffington Post, that obtained the leaked correspondences, Scott was hired as a Style Stage Correspondent for the red carpet at the 2013 BET Awards show in June 2013. He said that BET forced him to remove his makeup and heels before the show, but that he never reappeared on air.
"I don’t want ’looking like a woman B Scott.’ I want tempered B Scott," allegedly wrote a BET music programming president, after Scott said he showed up five hours early in what was a "pre-approved outfit" of a flowing blue tunic, black pants and high heels. BET executives said that Scott was drinking and acting unprofessional prior to the show.
Muckraker TMZ furthered that Network VP Rhonda Cowan offered to "speak to him about being less ’womanly.’"
Scott denied the allegations, saying that the BET Awards 106th and Park Pre-Show was recorded in front of a live audience and media personnel, who could attest to his "prompt arrival and utmost professionalism."
He subsequently filed a lawsuit in August 2013, alleging that BET and Viacom "willingly and wrongfully discriminated against [his] gender identity," and seeking a true public apology and remuneration for time lost, humiliation and emotional distress.
"It’s a shame that a company such as BET/Viacom would rather focus energy towards slandering my reputation in an attempt to further humiliate me instead of learning from their mistakes. The time & energy spent creating a ’spin’ could have more effectively been used to help create a more welcoming environment for LGBTQ employees," wrote Scott on his blog.