In the latest challenge for Qatar as it tries to make inroads into the US media market, a former staffer at Al Jazeera America (AJAM) is suing the cable channel for US$15 million.
The employee claims that he was fired in “retaliation” for complaining about the alleged anti-Jewish, discriminatory and sexist behavior of a senior manager.
Earlier this week, Matthew Luke filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court of the State of New York against his former employer, which is part of the Qatar-based Al Jazeera Media Network, and his ex-supervisor Osman Mahmud.
Luke claims in his statement that Mahmud exhibited a “pattern of offensive and discriminatory behavior that was widely known” within AJAM, but bosses failed to take any disciplinary action against him.
He said Mahmud’s actions included removing female colleagues from projects that they had already been assigned to by other managers, excluding women from emails and meetings that were relevant to their assignments and “making discriminatory, anti-semitic and anti-American remarks such as ‘whoever supports Israel should die a fiery death in hell.’ ”
Luke joined AJAM in May 2013, three months ahead of the channel’s launch, as a supervisor of media and archive management.
Mahmud was hired in October 2013, initially as a news editor, but quickly rose through the company ranks until he was appointed Vice President of Broadcast Operations and Technology and became Luke’s boss.
Luke alleged that Mahmud’s series of quick promotions was at least in part due to him being “well-connected” with financiers and senior executives at AJAM and its parent company Al Jazeera Media Network, “specifically with Dr. Mostefa Souag,” the network’s acting Director General, the statement added.
Mahmud has denied the claims leveled against him, the Washington Post reports. He told the newspaper that the allegations of treatment of women were “a pack of lies” and added that if he had undertaken the actions Luke alleges, other staffers would also have complained.
In a statement, AJAM told the Post that it does not comment on pending litigation.
As an example of Mahmud’s alleged discrimination against women, Luke states that in November 2014, Mahmud “took it upon himself to terminate one of the best editors” who was working on the show America Tonight.
When that decision was questioned by a female executive producer of the show, who was Mahmud’s senior, Luke said that he became “combative and dismissive” of her. She was later ordered to write a letter of apology to Mahmud, Luke added.
Several weeks later, Luke claims that some of the channel’s senior executives met to discuss Mahmud’s “overt misogynistic behavior and bias against women as well as his anti-Semitic rhetoric.”
No action was taken against Mahmud because he was “so well-connected within the company,” he added.
Five days after Luke made an official complaint about Mahmud’s behavior to the channel’s HR department, he said he was called by his bosses at AJAM, telling him not to attend work the following day.
He was then allegedly suspended without pay pending an investigation over complaints by Mahmud surrounding a disagreement four months previously.
“Mr. Mahmud’s complaint and the subsequent ‘investigation’ of that complaint was not conducted in good faith but rather was a misguided attempt on the part of AJAM and Mr. Mahmud to retaliate against Mr Luke for his complaints regarding Mr Mahmud’s discriminatory behavior,” the lawsuit stated.
Ten days after filing the complaint, in February of this year, Luke was fired and told that he “did not fit in to the company culture.”
Luke is claiming $5 million in compensation and $10 million in punitive damages against the network.
After the lawsuit was filed, Al Jazeera America also announced that two top executives, executive vice president for human resources Diana Lee, and executive vice president for communications Dawn Bridges, were leaving the company, Politico reports.
The network has struggled to attract viewers in the US since its launch.
In December 2013, Al Jazeera’s Souag said during a media roundtable in Doha: “It’s still a baby, we need time for this baby to start running and competing in the neighborhood.”
what an idiot
America is the land of the free so anyone can say what they think about anything freely! This move by this Matthew character is a cheap attempt by him to become a millionaire!
There is a law against semitism!!! Many reporters and broadcasters got fired for such in the States… But non did for Islamphobia!!
for one it’s anti-semitism not semitism. Where is the islamophobia, not islamphobia, that no one got fired for that you’re specifically speaking about.?
I am talking about the United States’ media and politics!!!
No you are wrong. Anyone who fires someone because they are muslim can be sued its called employment discrimination. Federal and state law prohibits discrimination in employment for reasons of religion, race, ethnic group or gender.
Well actually there’s usually some huge law firm that sues them and takes 95% of the winning but at least they win the case!
And who forces you to retain some huge law firm?
The fee is usually capped by law at 1/3. But I get your point.
I did not say anything about termination of jobs! I am talking about media and political projection! There are broadcasters who got fired for racist slurs or anti Israel or Jew remarks, but not due to anti-Muslims remarks!!!
Jew obsessed arent we. Grow up.
No I am not. I don’t have anything against Jews, I have friends who embrace Judaism. I am just highlighting the double standards. Why you ignored all of that and focused on that part. It’s not the Jews fault, its the conservative media and politics (GOP) fault buddy..Grew up and don’t attack my point, discuss it.
“I have friends who embrace Judaism.” Are they jews or “do they embrace judaism” and here in Doha?
As to your point – are there proven circumstances – that you can back up with links – where someone was fired for being moslem or someone made disparaging remarks against moslems and reported it and nothing happened? You imply the courts there wouldnt do anything and that is absurd.
They are Jews. Some from the States and some from Israel. And are you pretending 9 not understanding my points? I was talking about media personal and politicians! Fix news is full false accusations and fear mongering allegations against Muslims and Black Americans! Most of the anchors or politicians get sided or resigned, like Jim Cluny. They get pressured to resign or get suspended! I am not talking about workplace discrimination! I am talking about the media and politicians bias and bigotry against Muslims, Gays, and Black Americans in the United States.
Islamphobia is such a nonesense word. If I disagree with the basic tenents of Islam does that make me an Islamphobe? Of course not. A bit like saying my team is the 49ers and I don’t the Redskins. I don’t automatically become a redskinphobe.
It is a term used by those trying to justify and impose their Islamic values on others and tries to undermine those that legitmatley critic Islam and the Koran.
Not correct. Islamophobia is where slander and lies are piled up against the Muslims with impunity and as a consequence Muslims are persecuted without due justice. Just what was done to the Jews by mostly Christians for centuries, particularly during WW2 by the Germans.
Islamphobia exists which is the fear of Muslims by slandering them and try to destroy their image by the public image… Just like homophobia and anti-semitism…
there is a difference between being afraid of something and discriminating against it.
I did not say it is the same thing… I said it is a cause! just like homophobia… The fear of gays creates a path of discrimination!
AEC is correct.
“there is a difference between being afraid of something and discriminating against it.”
Being fearful that Muslims may murder you for what you say or do in the name of their God is a justifiable fear. Descriminating against a muslim for a job, a promotion or providing a service is wrong and should be punished by law.
I clarified what i meant. I did not specify work place. I indicated media and politics by conservatives and GOP. Then why they do not show the truth and talk about Israel and its terrorism? Muslims are minority in the terrorism scale by European numbers! And I never saw them focus on Christian terrorism! There is a bias towards Muslims, Gays, and Blacks in America, and I hope that you do not deny it due to your own prejudice…
Ask yourself, why are Muslim refugees, migrants and seekers of better opportunities flocking to America and Western Europe if it is so bad over there?
Israel commits acts of terrorism and as for Christian terrorists I can’t think of many except for those that attack abortion clinics but the overwhelming majority of terrorist acts are carried out by Muslims. How do we know this? They tell us. Doesn’t mean all Muslims are terrorists though
Bruder, the Isrealis can and should defend themselves. I hope you do not deny it due to your own prejudice.
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/14/are-all-terrorists-muslims-it-s-not-even-close.html here u go educate yourself before arguing
When I was younger, I considered the sunday morning evangelical tv shows to be terrorist acts. Besides, those tv time slots could have been better served with reruns of Scooby Doo 😉
Deleting this thread for going off topic.
An employee accusing his boss and a boss denying the accusations. A court will decide about the case. A major broadcaster from one continent struggling to get audience in another one. — In a worldwide context, nothing really “exceptional” to cause a furor. People tend to amplify news coming from Qatar. Don’t you think?
Hardly surprising that they are struggling to get an audience when someone hired as a News Editor is promoted 12 months later to be Manager of Video and Production and Editing, and then 3 months later is promoted yet again, this time to Senior Vice President of Broadcast Operations and Technology.
If you want your news network to be the best, here’s a thought – hire the best people, rather than just promoting your buddies and giving them increases in pay and responsibility.
As long as Al Jazeera America prefers to run their network as a hobby for enriching friends rather than hiring and retaining talented staff, it will continue to have low ratings. They have reportedly spent $600 million since startup in August 2013 and things are so poor there they are simply replacing most of their American produced content with a feed of Al Jazeera English.
Exactly. You may get away with hiring and promoting your buddies and firing people because you don’t like them in Qatar but you won’t get away with it elsewhere. I’m not denying it happens in other countries but not on such a large scale and with such abandon as it does here.
Wasta doesn’t work in America……
Wasta is like water my friend, it works everywhere but just takes different forms!
Wasta gave bush jr the presidency
You said it man! The only place I think Wasta struggles is probably Norway or Finland, but it still can find its way!
Sorry ur wrong. We vote for a president, is not appointed.
Florida vote recount 2004 and jeb bush …
Thank you for sharing your experience with free, democratic elections 🙂
There is no such thing in the US. It is a semblance of democracy where naive people think they are choosing between two different programs when it is in reality one single program, the one of the lobbies and military-industrial complex.
America is bad. How does it work in your country, Yacine?
As long as we do not have blood in our hands, we are fine,
And you call that democracy? Good on you.
Yes indeed there is no wasta in America. I also believe pigs can fly in the air.
Says the guy who never lived there.
Deleting this thread because it has no relevance to this story.
Not quite, it gave him a shot at the presidency, then it took millions of idiots to actually vote for him…
Florida vote recount 2004
So, you’d voted for Al “Bore” then? Communist!
Most countries end up electing a Head of State who rose to prominence through connections, power and wealth. Is it really such a bad thing?
It doesn’t work in countries with employment law……..
That’s not entirely true, jobs for the boys, jobs not advertised, friend of a friend, nepotism, university affiliates, rotary club, help my daughter get a foot in the door, free masons, taps on shoulders is wide spread in Australia & NZ. High level executive director jobs are nearly always recruited in this fashion. It’s just not called wasta.
Of course nepotism and such like happens all over the world. What I mean is that if you have Wasta in Qatar you can treat employees however you wish with no consequences. Having Qatar Wasta in a country with employment law is meaningless because the law is the law. If you break the law, it is irrelevant who you are related to or connected with. In this instance his immaturity and arrogance is such that he thinks his Qatar Wasta allows him to behave with impunity in a workplace owned by the Qataris but governed by US employment law. Stupid boy.
Wasta in the West may not be so obvious and in your face, but it is there. One of the main differences is that there, powerful people usually have highly paid lawyers who come up with way to go around the laws, or find some underling to take the blame for them.
Feel free to look up John R. Bolton, George W. Bush’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to the U.N. and read on how abusive he was to those reporting to him over the years.
There are plenty of such examples that you can find where employment laws in the West couldn’t help the victims of such bosses. That is, of course, assuming that you are looking for facts to get to the truth, and not seeking evidence to support your preexisting views.
Lol. Its not called wasta but is very well an ingrained part od US society. Take the Bush family, Clintons etc. Its through their connections and nepotism they manage to reach there. US presidency is going to be a family affair now that Jeb Bush wants to contest.
Now let’s assume he is right, what’s the point of the 15 million dollars? I could have believed him if he asked for 1 million, but 15? Sorry, he is just doing it for the money, even though he might be right that this Osman Mahmud is an idiot.
If you’re going to sue you don’t ask for the minimum. Like bargaining in the souk.
That’s the American way. If you do bad things they don’t stone you to death, you pay money. If you don’t like it feel free to go back to wherever you came from.
Yeah we know the American way. They do not stone you, they drone you in your wedding. They might even capture you and keep you in Guanatamo without any charges, and if you go on a hunger strike they force feed you through “rectal dehydration”.
Make no mistake, I have no plans to put a foot there.
PS: how is it going now with the white cops killing black people like flies? I have heard the target this year is 50 blacks. Let me know when they reach it.
You let us know how your country does it, and then I will tell you.
Deleting for going off topic and devolving.
Exactly, if you dont like it in Qatar feel free to go back to where you came from. We dont take orders from AIPAC and dont have a Jewish lobbyist organisation determining our foreign policy.
I like it here. I get paid well, I have lots of free time and my wasta is as good as ever. 🙂
In the US you can ask for punitive damages which is meant to deter others. In other words, part of the money would go to lost wages, part to embarrassment over being fired and part maybe a significant for outrageous remarks. In America, you cannot fire people for being another religion or ethnic group. You know the head of Apple is not hetero and the head of Yahoo is female and the heads of Google are jewish etc etc. In the US if someone fires you for being muslim you can get punitives – it is outrageous misconduct to decide to hire or fire based upon color, religion, race, gender, etc. HINT – that’s why US corps are global leaders they hire and retain the best talent regardless of whether someone is a different race, gender, religion, etc.
This is the United States baby. You cant come here with your backwards mentality and think you can get away with blatant discrimination.
They should get on their knees and thank him that he is asking for just 15 and not 50 million.
Oh come on you made me laugh. If it was the other way round (A Muslim fired by A Jew) it would have been a different story. So you said you cannot get away with blatant discrimination? Okkkk. On a side note, how is it going nowadays with the white cops killing black people like flies?
I never said the US is perfect. We have our issues but we don’t hide from them. We work to fix them.
And yes, a Muslim fired by a Jew would be allowed to get the same justice as the other way around. Thats because our labor law is not a showpiece. We actually enforce it.
He was given a task and refused to do it, he was assigned a new task. He still sued the company.
How many labors in the gulf have sued their companies for wrongfully holding their salaries or passports? How about for the racist pay polices and job adverts?
Like I said, that might fly there but as Mr Osman found out, in the USA he has to follow the rules and regulations. If not, he will be made to follow them the hard way.
As an Asian Muslim, I have been given more respect by Americans than I ever got from my fellow Muslim ‘brothers’. Americans opened their doors for me while I was treated as a second class human back in the gulf. America allowed me to fulfill my potential while my own muslim brothers held me back because of where I was from. My Muslim brothers called me ‘Rafeeq’ thinking I did not know the meaning and intention behind it. Americans called me Sir.
Now that I am an American myself, I am suddenly worthy and get invited to the middle east as a consultant in the health sector at six figure sums for mere weeks of work. I get first class airline tickets just to visit this place and a chauffeured Mercedes at my beck and call every time I land in Dubai. America gave me the opportunity to accomplish all this. Not my ‘brothers’.
So please refrain from talking about my country because you obviously know nothing about it.
Backwards attitude. Wow an American making that allegation. Hows it going there killing blacks? Are any of them remaining?
Speaking of backwards mentality:
How does that relate to anything i said? Focus please.
Well, your comment referred to “backwards mentality”, and you made another comment somewhere here about how “Yes, we have our problems but we work to fix them”; all of which seems to be implying that: A) Backwards mentality doesn’t exist in the U.S.; B) You don’t shy away from confronting your problems , which judging from the events going in Baltimore right now, and Ferguson before, well, let’s just say it doesn’t seem that White and Black America see eye to eye on these issues.
Point is, no need to use terms like “backwards or 3rd world mentality” as if such mentalities don’t exist back home.
Deleting for attack.
This is obviously a case of islamophobia at its finest, ignoring the many cultural and race related issues to Mr Mamhud. The attack on Mr Mamhud is an attack on his culture and typical of American riding roughshod over minorities rights, I am just surprised the police did not shoot him in the back for exercising his right to free speech. It is quite clear this is a Jewish consipracy against Qatar and against Muslims, whereas the Arab and Muslim world put a high value of womens’ rights in contrast to the sustanined abuse on their good character in places like America.
To impose America’s decayed moral values on Al Jazeera ignores the exceptional record Qatari companies have in being employers of choice and upholding the highest standard of human rights. This is nothing but a political campaign against Al Jazeera led probably by W Bush, H Clinton and the devil.
You forgot to sign into your alternate accounts and upvoted yourself from the same account MIMH.
I usually agree with a lot of what you say but you are either a) asleep or b)just got back from QDC or c)sarcasm at it’s finest.
…based on MIMH antecedent on dohanews, he is the master of sarcasm.
Thanks for the reminder, need to get to QDC soon, want to beat the pre-Ramadan crowds when this whole country goes crazy for booze…..
I think is option C…. :-))
All hail the MIMH!
Your final paragraph mirrors the sentiment’s of Mr Luke’s attorney:
Jeffrey A. Kimmel, the lawyer representing Mr. Luke, said in a statement that after his client reported Mr. Mahmud to human resources, “the response was to circle the wagons and fire the messenger. This is a clear violation of the law. One would expect more from an organization whose mission statement is ‘to be recognized as the world’s leading and most trusted media network.’ ”
“The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” Oscar Wilde
Qatar envisions itself as a global player in many realms – education, business, law and industry. For it to succeed it will need to compete for the best talent available regardless of whether employees or potential hires are…jewish, catholic, protestant, hindu, female, etc. Economic strength arises from diversity – you pick the best. In a globalized competitive world being prejudiced ultimately leads to failure as the competition outsmarts, outwits and outflanks the entity that practices discrimination.
Qatar competes for the best Egyptian talent
Your remarks are discriminatory! What’s wrong with Egyptian talents?
Have you found some?
Are you suggesting that there is something wrong with Egyptian talent? Your remark is discriminatory!!!
And whats wrong competing for that?
Deleting for irrelevance.
“Freedom of speech” we need to see if that is upheld in here , because it seems all the above issue is based on that . Media channels are becoming biased and cannot handle criticism they should be able to face it face to face and grow .
I wonder if many of those who are not US citizens, and left Al Jazeera in Doha for United States, really knew that the work environment there is tough under all points of view, even commenting things that “sound racist”….there if you bully someone you can be denounced for it….not like in certain countries like for example….here.
Ignorantia non est argumentum
Ignorantia it IS an argumentum when it’s affecting with behavior like bullying. To make mistakes is human, but perseverare autem diabolicum.
You want to continue in Latin, puella?
Puella is your mother’s son.
nope! Ad litteram my mother does not have a son! Sorry! Try again “audentes fortuna iuvat”
Mala hostibus eveniant 🙂
Melius abundare quam deficere and hic sunt leones yeahhh so on and so forth 😉
At what time does the next episode of Desperate Housewives start? 🙂
never seen it
Try it. Something to relate to 🙂
Hey, knock it off with the Harry Poter spells! This is a magic free zone!
Deleting most of this thread for going off topic.
Except you don’t just get ‘denounced’ for it, you get sued for 15 million dollars. We really need to make a transition from this lawsuit culture, it’s disgusting.
When I first came here I met someone from Pakistan who told me that at a previous job interview, the interviewer turned him down because of his nationality; “Sorry, you are qualified but we don’t hire people from Pakistan”. I told him this kind of behavior would bankrupt that company if they were in the US.
Hopefully he is reading this article.
Quite a convo! Closing the thread now.