Disney Executive says the company discriminates against his sexual orientation

A Disney executive has filed a lawsuit against the entertainment company claiming it discriminated against him based on his sexual orientation.

According to Fox News, the lawsuit was filed just days before the scheduled start of the Pride Month celebrations.

“The plaintiff had direct and repeated complaints to the Human Resources Department about the discrimination he suffered while working for the Defendants and the related failure to promote him and pay him on a par with the other department heads “, It says in the lawsuit.

Fox News notes that the lawsuit was filed on behalf of Joel Hopkins in the Los Angeles Superior Court. The lawsuit names the Walt Disney Company and several of its subsidiaries, including ABC Signature Studios, Inc. and Riverside Television Services LLC, as defendants.

Hopkins, Fox adds, is currently vice president of production finance at ABC Signature.

However, Hopkins had joined Disney in 1994 as Director of Production Finance for Buena Vista TV. A few years later he was promoted to VP Production Finance for Touchstone TV.

Around the same time that Hopkins was getting his last promotion, recalled the lawsuit: “The plaintiff’s sexual orientation as a gay man became known to several people, including the plaintiff’s director, Jim Hedges, ABC’s CFO.”

LGBTQ flag. Image via catalog of offers, Flickr, CC BY 2.0, no changes.

“After his sexual orientation became known to his superiors and after he was discriminated against and reached a dead end and repeatedly denied promotions without remedy or discharge from the HR department, the plaintiff is informed and believes that this will again occur in or around April 2021, there were several promotions, but the plaintiff was again not promoted, ”said the lawsuit. “Plaintiff is informed and believes that these promotions were made despite allegations that Disney was financially harmed and not sponsored.”

In addition to Disney’s refusal to promote Hopkins, the lawsuit alleges that Hopkins believes he is being purposely paid less than his peers and co-workers.

“The plaintiff is also informed and believes that his compensation is less than that of other individuals who are also department heads, and that title is lower than that of other individuals who are also department heads, especially for someone with the plaintiff’s experience and tenure” , it says in the court records.

Hopkins’ lawsuit should come as no surprise to Disney, according to Fox News: Hopkins had previously filed a discrimination complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

Although the CDFEH’s report is not publicly available, Hopkins and his attorneys have been granted a “right to sue” by the agency.

“The civil action,” according to the CDFEH, “must be filed within one year of the date of this notification.”

Hopkins is seeking damages and punitive damages and reimbursement of his legal fees.


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