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Al Roker Faces Lawsuit from Former Producer Over DEI Efforts: Report

Al‍ Roker, the weather anchor ‍on​ NBC’s Today and host of events like the⁤ Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, is facing a‌ lawsuit from a ⁤producer alleging wrongful termination. The producer claims Roker’s production company ⁢failed to uphold DEI initiatives ⁢it was contractually obligated to implement. The lawsuit includes allegations ⁤of breach of contract and violations of ⁤human rights laws. Al Roker, NBC’s Today weather anchor and host ⁢of events ​such ⁣as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, is being sued by a producer for alleged wrongful⁣ termination. The producer asserts⁣ that Roker’s production company did not meet its contractual ⁢obligations ⁢regarding DEI initiatives. The lawsuit cites breach of ​contract ⁢and violations of human rights laws.


By George C. Upper III April 22, 2024 at 6:20am

Al Roker, weather anchor on NBC’s Today and frequent host of events like the coverage the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, has been sued by a producer who claims he was wrongfully terminated after complaining that the television personality’s production company was bypassing DEI initiatives it was contractually obligated to implement.

Bill Schultz, a former executive producer of a number of animated shows such as “The Simpsons,” has sued for breach of contract, negligence, violations of state human rights laws in New York designed to prevent racial discrimination, and other causes of action, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Along with Roker, the suit named Weatherhunters, Al Roker Entertainment and Lisa Tucker — senior vice president for development and production at ARE — as co-defendants.

“Weather Hunters” — which the suit sometimes refers to as “Weatherhunters” — is a “new animated science series for kids ages 5-8 from Al Roker Entertainment,” according to the PBS website, “designed to support kids’ understanding of weather through adventure and comedy.”

Because the show was largely funded by PBS, the production company was obligated to uphold PBS’ diversity, equity and inclusion program, according to the outlet.

However, Schultz claims, Roker and his company failed to do that, instead having black writers “touch up” scripts written by white writers in hopes that that would be enough to give “the appearance of a diverse writers room.”

The plan was for ARE to create 40 episodes of the 30-minute program, which PBS would fund though ARE would retain ownership of the property. That funding brought PBS’s DEI program into play during the show’s production.

However, Schultz claimed, ARE “treated the DEI Policy as discretionary and an obstacle to be circumvented,” according to the court filing.

The suit also claims that ARE viewed the DEI program as a “box to be checked in the most expedient manner possible” and an “impediment to business as usual.”

Are DEI initiatives destructive to the American social fabric?

His suit claims that after the show’s story editor bypassed the DEI requirements, however, by bringing in “experienced” writers who were not BIPOC — black, indigenous, or other people of color — so as to meet project deadlines.

Schultz objected to that change and as a result was “served a notice that he was in breach of his contract for failures related to staffing, among other things,” the outlet reported. He was later suspended and then fired. At about the same time, a black producer who had also complained about the way in which ARE was implementing the DEI policy was also “reprimanded,” according to the court papers. Schultz is white.

Interested readers can review the entire 67-page court filing below.

Schultz v. Roker by THR

“I put nine years of my career into Weather Hunters, a project I strongly believe in, with the goal of making a wonderfully crafted show for children to enjoy and learn from,” Schultz said in a statement cited by the Reporter.

“I also believed, and still believe, that the project benefited by creating opportunities for the ‘new voices’ crucial in storytelling and that the Weather Hunters production needed to live up to the ideals it was supposed to represent,” he added.

The Reporter said that DEI programs like PBS’s have “attracted legal scrutiny” because they discriminate against the “nonpreferred groups” — often described as “straight white men” — and in some cases aren’t enforced or administered as designed.

“Weather Hunters” was targeted at black viewers, according to Schultz’s suit, making the DEI issue more important it might have been in other cases.

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George Upper is the former Editor-in-Chief of The Western Journal and was a weekly co-host of “WJ Live,” powered by The Western Journal. He is currently a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. A former U.S. Army special operator, teacher and consultant, he is a lifetime member of the NRA and an active volunteer leader in his church. Born in Foxborough, Massachusetts, he has lived most of his life in central North Carolina.

George Upper, is the former editor-in-chief of The Western Journal and is now a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. He currently serves as the connections pastor at Awestruck Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a former U.S. Army special operator, teacher, manager and consultant. Born in Massachusetts, he graduated from Foxborough High School before joining the Army and spending most of the next three years at Fort Bragg. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English as well as a Master’s in Business Administration, all from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He and his wife life only a short drive from his three children, their spouses and his grandchildren. He is a lifetime member of the NRA and in his spare time he shoots, reads a lot of Lawrence Block and John D. MacDonald, and watches Bruce Campbell movies. He is a fan of individual freedom, Tommy Bahama, fine-point G-2 pens and the Oxford comma.


Foxborough, Massachusetts




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B.A., English, UNCG; M.A., English, UNCG; MBA, UNCG


North Carolina

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