Matthew Luke, a former employee of Al Jazeera America, has accused the fledgling cable network of sexism and anti-Semitism, according to a complaint filed in New York on Tuesday. A subsidiary of the Qatar-funded Al Jazeera Media Network, Al Jazeera America was launched in August of 2013. Although there were concerns about the American offshoot of the popular pan-Arab news organization before it debuted, the network had managed to avoid scandal up until now.
Allegedly, Luke was terminated from Al Jazeera America in retaliation for complaints he made about Osman Mahmud, the network’s Senior Vice President of Broadcast Operations & Technology, which is one of those superfluously long titles reserved for corporate executives. According to the complaint, Mahmud discriminated against women by removing them from projects and cutting them out of email chains and meetings. Luke also accused Mahmud of making anti-Semitic and anti-American remarks, such as “whoever supports Israel should die a fiery death in hell.”
Luke was fired from his job as Supervisor of Media and Archive Management less than two weeks after complaining to the network’s human resources department about Mahmud’s behavior. An unnamed human resources official allegedly told Luke that he “did not fit into the company culture.” Although the network declined to comment on the litigation, it did say that it would “respond in the appropriate forum” and that “Al Jazeera America’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is fundamental to its mission.” Al Gore, who sold his Current TV cable channel to Al Jazeera in advance of the launch of Al Jazeera America, was not asked for comment, as per usual.