A lawsuit was recently filed by Vincent Steib, citing racial discrimination and harassment by set workers during the production of the daytime show “Days Of Our Lives.” Steib is suing Sony Pictures Television Inc. and Beachwood Services Inc., as the former photographer alleges the mishandling of his complaint by management led to him being fired based on allegations made by the set workers.
Steib, 65, had a career in the television and film industry for more than 40 years, winning two Emmys and being nominated for many more. He is well-respected in the industry, having done thousands of hours of work in live television, according to the suit.
According to the lawsuit, Steib alleges racial discrimination, wrongful termination, harassment, retaliation, failure to prevent discrimination, harassment or retaliation, negligent hiring, supervision and retention, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and unpaid wages upon termination.
In 2015 when Steib started working on “Days Of Our Lives,” the man he replaced told him that there was “pervasive, known racism” on the set and there were only a few Black people out of the hundreds of employees working.
When Steib recommended two Black electricians who were hired and were released after only about three days. The second was let go “because the team refused to work with him due to his race,” the suit alleges.
The show’s White electrician was repeatedly disrespectful to Steib in front of the crew and the cast, setting a pattern for how others perceived Steib as well as the discrimination tolerated on the set, the suit states.
The electrician verbally berated Steib during an incident between the two after the electrician asked the plaintiff to step outside, the suit states. The electrician further “made it clear that he was unhappy with Mr. Steib being his supervisor and set out to make Mr. Steib fail,” the suit alleges.
The crew members who followed the electrician’s example also discriminated against and harassed Steib, who heard another electrician tell the head carpenter, “All Black Lives Matter people want to put us White people in chains,” the suit states.
Steib also heard fellow employees say the only reason the plaintiff had a job was that he is Black and that the producers needed to fill a quota, according to the suit.
When Steib reported the alleged discrimination and harassment to his supervisors, they told him, “We’re working on it,” the suit states. The bosses assured him his job was safe “and that he did not have to worry about being sabotaged by anyone,” the suit states.
However, last October, members of Sony’s legal team summoned Steib to address allegations made against him by the same people he had complained about, then fired him, the suit states.
Steib now suffers from emotional distress due to the alleged mistreatment he experienced on the “Days of Our Lives” set, the suit states.
Steib also maintains that he is owed back pay and has struggled to find a new job in photography because of the allegations made against him by former co-workers.