Warner Bros. Sued for Alleged Anti-Asian Bias
In October of last year, Warner Bros. abruptly announced it was shuttering DramaFever, a streaming-video service specializing in Korean dramas and other Asian programming. They said it was due to what they claimed was an increasingly competitive and expensive market. However, Chung H. Chang -- the former VP of Finance for Digital Labs, which was the parent division of DramaFever -- is alleging Warner Bros. studio has an anti-Asian bias and retaliated against him when he brought it to their attention. In the lawsuit he filed, Chang alleges that three other Asian American executives were also terminated on the same day, while four white VPs were retained. Chang said this kept with a pattern of discriminatory comments he and other Asian American employees experienced since Warner Bros. acquired DramaFever. Chang reported to Patty Hirsch, who was hired in March 2018 to run Warner Bros. Digital Labs. Chang claims that when he told Hirsch that he was Korean American, she said, “Oh, you’re not Chinese?” The suit also says another Warner Bros. media executive expressed surprise that the Asian American DramaFever executives did not have accents and said it was “amazing” how good their English was. Chang also alleges that Hirsch once said Warner Bros. wanted to fill executive roles with “people who could sell,” and named two white executives as examples. “They just wanted people in executive leadership who look and sound like they do, and who the Company believed would present better to Studio executives in Burbank,” the suit states. Chang says Warner Bros. retaliated against him by firing him after he hired an attorney and informed the company of his discrimination claim. Of note: while embattled Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara is Japanese American (Beat readers will recall he’s under investigation for alleged improper behavior helping a British actress secure work), the majority of Warner Bros. executives are white. More here.