Bil Browning

Star lawsuit

Filed By Bil Browning | August 03, 2006 10:45 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
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Per Bil's request, I'm cross-posting an update from Taking Down Words about litigation between the Indianapolis Star and former editorial writers Lisa Coffey and James Patterson, who are suing the paper on a number of discrimination claims.

I had earlier heard a rumor that the Star was trying to seal all the records in the case, which offended my sense that a media outlet that advocates for access to records shouldn't hide things when it's under the microscope.

Then I received an e-mail containing more specific information and a couple legal documents from the case.

It would seem the Star filed a motion to seal certain records pertaining to the alleged sexual orientation and HIV status of certain managers within the company. The paper also has filed a motion for a protective order to prevent Coffey and Patterson from blabbing their allegations around town.

Knowing that, I'm far more inclined to side with the Star in its attempt to protect its employees. Boiled down to the bare minimum, the plaintiffs' legal case is premised in part on the notion that they were discriminated against as Christians because the Star employes gay managers who don't necessarily share the plaintiffs' moral values. Or some such whatever. (I've never thought this case amounted to anything more than two bitter former employees looking for a big ol' settlement from Gannett.)

That being said, I know there are those who don't think the records should be sealed, and I'm interested in hearing those arguments.

Because I'm not entirely sure how to upload files to Bilerico, I'm going to link to the documents on TDW. Give them a read and tell me what you think about the case.

Star brief

Earlier plaintiffs' response


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Yeah-- thanks for bringing this over to bilerico. It's a legitimate question for our community.

IF -- note the IF-- the management of the Star has a policy of non-discrimination on sexual orientation (It does) and they hire gays who make it to editorial status (They probably have) and later Christians are not allowed to submit and get printed anti-gay articles -- is that ipso facto religious discrimination?

Wait-- note that the "alleged gays and HIV Poz" are NOT the superiors who refused to allow the columnists to post. No, but the Christians claim that due to the policy of tolerance and hiring-- the overall climate is anti-Christian (Hear that MCC'ers?). Because we all know if you hire some gays, the whole workplace becomes fabulous and loving-- everyone who is the least bit opposed is fired, demoted or otherwise berated and a rainbow shines over the company thenceforth.

Anyone have a wedgewhacker handy?

To put it bluntly, this is the most childish thing I've seen in a long time. But it also is very sad. First, I would imagine that most of the employees at the Star are Christian. So, I would presume that the gay employees are also Christian. Just a feeling I have. So what makes a gay Christian different from a straight Christian? And how did this get to be "us against "them?" Something is not right here. Talk about scapegoating! What would Ms. Coffey have done if a straight person had changed her job responsibilities? Would she have cried discrimination because that person was of Norwegian descent? Having seen discrimination first-hand, I find this situation appalling. It also sends a terrible message out into the community - You do a lousy job - blame the gays. Sure, it's easy. I only hope that the Court sees these people for what they are - scared, spineless bigots who can't take responsibility for their own actions.