Former Hot 97 Executive Sues Radio Station For Discrimination After Allegedly Being Told He Was 'Too White For The Job'

Former Hot 97 Executive Sues Radio Station For Discrimination After Allegedly Being Told He Was ‘Too White For The Job’

An accusation of discrimination has been levied against hip-hop radio station, Hot 97 as a white former executive with the station says he was terminated for being “too white for the job.”

According to The Daily Beast, former VP of digital operations at Hot 97, Stanley Pillman III, has filed a lawsuit at the New York State Supreme Court on Monday, March 25 stating that MediaCo Holding, the parent company of Hot 97 is accused of retaliation and discrimination in violation of the state’s human rights and labor laws. He also has claimed that DJ Funkmaster Flex has been accepting kickbacks from advertisers and after reporting that to the station, he was fired as retaliation.

“Pillman’s employment was terminated in retaliation for his protected complaints or on the basis of his race,” the suit states. He wants his position back, along with back pay, compensatory damages for emotional harm, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees.

Pillman’s attorney, Robert Valli, told the media outlet, “We investigated, and we determined, in our opinion, that there was retaliation for protected activity. Here, it’s discrimination and speaking out about what we claim to be protected activities.”

Pillman claims that last year, in January 2023, after working at the station since February 2021, he was summoned to a meeting with MediaCo CEO Rahsan-Rahsan Lindsay and COO/President Brad Tobin.  He has alleged that Lindsay informed him that “there was a feeling around the office” that the VP didn’t know “anything about hip-hop” and he needed to listen to the station. Pillman said he asked them, “Are you trying to say I am too white for the job?” and he claims that Lindsay replied by saying, “Yes” and Lindsay said that Pillman was a minority at the station.

He also accused Flex of telling some fellow employees that “the white boys are stealing from us,” referencing Pillman and Tobin, who is also white last July. He then told Hot 97’s Human Resources department that Flex and Hot 97’s SVP of sales “were involved in potential kick-backs and theft of company funds.” Then, in August, Pillman’s lawyer sent a letter to MediaCo “complaining about Pillman being subject to workplace discrimination, retaliation, and a hostile work environment.” He was then terminated on Aug. 31, 2023. He says that on that same day, Flex allegedly went on air and called him out by saying, “You’re a bozo, effective immediately.”

After being let go, he said a “Hispanic Male” took over his job and was later replaced by a “Black Male.” He also alleges that Tobin’s contract was not renewed and he was “replaced by a Black Male.”

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