MLB broadcaster Casey Stern claims he was sidelined at work as he dealt with saving his kids from alleged abuse and because he asked for accommodations during the pandemic, a new discrimination charge alleges.
Stern, 42, has worked for Turner Sports, Inc. and parent company WarnerMedia, LLC since 2014 anchoring coverage including the MLB postseason, the NCAA tournament and the NBA draft and all-star game.
But Stern — who is also a drive-time national talk radio show host on SiriusXM’s MLB Network — says he was marginalized over the last two years as he dealt with his three young children allegedly being abused by his ex-wife Shanon Stern and her boyfriend Alexander Soriano, a discrimination charge filed with Atlanta’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleges.
For instance, in August 2019 when he arranged to have another host cover for him for 30 minutes so that he could handle childcare responsibilities Turner’s talent director “became irate” and snidely told him, “a lot of us have nanny issues,” the charge alleges.
Then in January 2020, when Stern told Turner that he didn’t want to host a new reality show because of its hours, the NBA TV’s executive producer said to Stern: “How long are you going to use this family situation as an excuse?” the charge claims.
In February 2020, Stern also had to cancel going to Chicago to cover the NBA All-Star game because investigators told him they would soon be arresting his ex-wife and her boyfriend and that he shouldn’t leave his kids alone in the meantime, the EEOC papers say.
Shanon and Soriano were in fact arrested on Feb. 28 and charged with child cruelty and reckless endangerment crimes.
They were accused of abusing the children — who were all four or younger at the time — from December 2018 through September 2019 including allegedly hitting one of them and forcing one of them to drink their own urine off the floor, according to arrest warrants.
In August, when two people tested positive for COVID-19 at the building where Stern worked, he told Turner that he couldn’t come in for at least two weeks given that he has asthma and has to stay in good health for his children, the EEOC documents allege.
As a result of all of this, Stern started to see his work responsibilities get taken away from him, the charge alleges.
For instance, Tuesday night’s edition of Inside the NBA on TNT was given to another host in 2019 despite prior assurances that only Stern and Turner’s other star broadcaster Ernie Johnson would host the show, the charge says.
In January 2020, Stern says he was taken off of March Madness coverage and the position was given to someone less qualified, the EEOC papers claim.
Stern also discovered he wouldn’t be covering the NBA trade deadline in February 2020 as he had three seasons prior, the EEOC documents allege.
During the height of the pandemic he was only given one or two hosting shifts per week and in May and June over a 23-day period he was given only a single shift, the charge claims.
Finally, on Sept. 11, Stern was removed from MLB’s postseason coverage and informed that he wouldn’t be given any more responsibilities and his contract wouldn’t be renewed, the charge alleges.
But, Turner also told him he couldn’t seek work elsewhere until August 2021 when his contract ends, the charge papers allege.
Stern’s “career progression reversed, when the company learned about his family
troubles and began discriminating against Mr. Stern because he is a man,” the EEOC papers allege. “Indeed, the company believed that as a man, Mr. Stern should be obligated to subjugate his family and always put work first.”
The EEOC charge highlights that WarnerMedia has faced other employee accusations including claims of verbal abuse, racism, misogyny, intimidation, and poor treatment of crews during the COVID-19 production shutdowns, specifically on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and TMZ.
“The company’s treatment of Mr. Stern is unfathomably cruel, but unfortunately not surprising given the multiple reports of outrageous conduct at WarnerMedia over the last 12 months,” Stern’s lawyer Michael J. Willemin said in a statement.
“The company continues to turn a blind eye and refuses to accept accountability and responsibility for its unlawful conduct,” Willemin said.
WarnerMedia, Turner and criminal defense lawyers for Shanon and Soriano all did not immediately return requests for comment.