A longtime cameraman for a local New York City news station who was fired in 2019 amid accusations of Islamaphobia has now reportedly filed a lawsuit against his former employer for slander and unjust termination, according to the New York Post.
Ken Evseroff, a 52-year-old cameraman who started working for WPIX in 1997, was fired by the station last year after he shared a meme on social media on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attacks that was critical of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), the Islamist congresswoman who dismissed the event as a day “some people did something.”
According to Evseroff, however, the shared meme on 9/11 was merely the excuse used by the station to fulfill the “predicate” that had been set a year prior when a female reporter at the station accused him of making “rude, racist and/or sexist comments” whenever the two worked together on an assignment.
Prior HR complaint
The reporter, Nareem Choudary, is an American-born Muslim of Bangladeshi descent who has worked at WPIX since 2011. In October 2018, she filed a formal complaint against Evseroff with the station’s human resources department.
The cameraman disputed the allegations against him, and his lawsuit notes that at that time, no other employee had ever lodged any similar complaints. However, after Choudary’s complaint was filed, two additional female coworkers made similar accusations, and the station reportedly warned Evseroff to “keep your comments to yourself.”
In an interview with the Post, Evseroff said, “I feel heartbroken and morally and professionally violated.”
“I love my job. I am good at my job. I love telling stories to change lives. I was honest, upfront, and open as sharing the meme as a news story. I told the truth and when they didn’t like my truth they invented their own,” he explained.
The Omar meme
The Ilhan Omar meme in question reportedly featured a picture of the two burning World Trade Center towers alongside a picture of the congresswoman and included a caption that read, “‘Never Forget’ — You said,” followed by another caption referencing Omar which read, “I am the proof — You have forgotten.”
Evseroff insisted that he simply found the meme newsworthy and that he held “no opinion about it” message-wise. However, the station disagreed and claimed it violated its social media policy, as it could be publicly perceived as racist or Islamophobic.
For what it is worth, Evseroff’s lawyers claim the cameraman was never informed of the station’s social media policy. Furthermore, they cited a “clear disparity” in the manner in which the alleged policy was enforced by contrasting their client’s termination with an absence of action having been taken against a Hispanic employee who made social media posts that “threatened violence against President Trump.”
Unspecified damages sought
It should be pointed out that both WPIX and Choudary declined a request for comment by the Post.
As for Evseroff’s pending lawsuit, he is now seeking an unspecified amount in damages, obviously with the hope that his name and professional reputation will be restored.