Jimmy Fallon show hit with sex discrimination claim

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Jimmy Fallon show hit with sex discrimination claim

Thu Jul 29, 2010 @ 04:02PM PST

Late_night_with_jimmy_fallon By Eriq Gardner

It's getting downright steamy in Hollywood these days. Charges of sexual harassment have recently been levied against Casey Affleck, Viacom's Sumner Redstone and former ABC exec Stephen McPherson.

Now a veteran stage hand says he lost his job at NBC because "Late Night" host Jimmy Fallon "just prefers to take direction from a woman."

Paul Tarascio, who worked for 14 years as a stage manager for "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" and joined Fallon's show when O'Brien left for "The Tonight Show," says he has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the first step before initiating a lawsuit.

According to the statement, Tarascio worked on the show's launch, helping to coordinate stage activities, aiding the director in communicating with staff, and helping make decisions on wardrobe, lighting and make-up.

From the outset, he claims, it was clear to him that show executives preferred to fill his job with a woman. David Diomedi, the show's director allegedly told him, "You know Jimmy. He loves his women."

Tarascio was replaced by Nicka Tolmafoff, who he says was "a less qualified woman."

After being demoted, Tarascio continued to complain, and says he took his grievances to union reps. At that point, Tarascio says the show's coordinating producer became hostile towards him and stopped speaking to him. He says an effort was underway to get him terminated, and he took his concerns to NBC HR, which allegedly failed to investigate.

Two weeks later, he says he was fired and given a list of job failures.

“We have yet to see any of the charges,” an NBC spokesman said. “Any claim of sexual discrimination is without merit.”

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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