I know. I know. I can scarcely believe it either. Who could’ve predicted such an unexpected development?
Erin Gloria Ryan of Jezebel gives us the bad news about the once-promising network, in a report ruefully titled “How Al Jazeera America Went from a Home for Idealists to a Sexist Mess”:
Former AJAM employee Matthew Luke’s lawsuit alleges a litany of sexist, anti-semitic, and “Anti-American” behavior from a senior employee named Osman Mahmud. Neither Mahmud nor his employer has responded to the complaint, but the Washington Post reported that he denied the claims.
Luke alleges that he was fired after clashing with Mahmud, who was promoted from video editor to Senior Vice President of Broadcast Operations in early 2015 despite an apparent lack of qualifications for the promotion (according to the lawsuit, Mahmud is “well-connected” with Mostefa Souag, an executive at AJAM’s parent company). After his promotion, Mahmud allegedly engaged in a pattern of sexist behavior, excluding senior female executives from email chains and meetings, speaking diminutively to women (one female AJAM employee told Jezebel that he routinely calls women in the office “little sister”), and, in some cases, displaying open contempt for women in more senior positions.
In one case, Luke alleges that a female executive producer was forced to write a letter of apology to Mr. Mahmud after she questioned his decision to fire one of the show’s editors (interviews with current and former AJAM employees corroborated this incident; the female producer hasn’t responded for request for comment). In another, Mahmud allegedly refused to accept technical assistance from a female engineer, insisting a man be sent in her place.
The lawsuit adds that Luke complained to human resources, only to discover days later that Mahmud had filed a retaliatory complaint. He was fired a week and a half later and told that he “did not fit into the company culture…”
After speaking with several current and former employees, it seems that the problem with the “culture” at Al Jazeera America extends well beyond one alleged sexist boor in the New York office and a bumbling CEO; across the channel, the environment has grown so toxic that many who haven’t already made plans to depart are eagerly eyeing employment elsewhere.
That’s awful. Who behaves like that in 2015?
Men, that’s who. These guys behave this way because they’re men. They hate women because they’re men. No other explanation is required, or even possible.
Unless you’re a racist. Why are you a racist, racist?
The Qatari royal family must be disappointed that their investment has been ruined like this. Their sterling reputation has been set back to the 7th Century. #smdh