The Roots’ Questlove responds to racial discrimination lawsuit

Star denies "demanding" that two employees were fired

The Roots drummer Questlove has denied pressuring TV bosses to fire two Tonight Show employees following news that he is being sued for racial discrimination.

Kurt Decker and Michael Cimino, two former Tonight Show camera operators, have alleged that Questlove – whose group is the house band for the Jimmy Fallon-hosted show – “demanded” the network fire them after they received a racist text message from an NBC stagehand during a taping of the show.

Decker and Cimino, who are white, claim that the text message, which was also allegedly sent to The Roots’ Mark Kelley, was unsolicited and that they reported the text to NBC executives. The pair were first suspended and subsequently fired.


A representative for the musician has since released a statement, denying Decker and Cimino’s claims. “Questlove denies the ridiculous allegations made in this lawsuit,” the statement begins.

It adds: “Racism is REAL and exists throughout the world and for these gentlemen to claim victim is not only disrespectful to Questlove and his bandmates, but to all that truly endure racism on a daily basis. As NBC already stated, the decisions made regarding these employees were made by NBC, alone.”

An NBC spokesperson had previously said in a statement: “NBC is committed to providing a work environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. We have strong policies in place that protect against discrimination in any form. The decision about these plaintiffs was the company’s alone.”

Questlove recently tweeted about the lawsuit, writing: “that time I got sued for being offended by racism”.

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