Al Jazeera America Calls anti-Semitism, Discrimination Allegations 'Absurd'

Ex-employee filed $15 million lawsuit last week against network for being fired after complaining about senior VP's alleged anti-Jewish, anti-U.S. and sexist views.

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Al Jazeera America editorial newsroom staff prepare for their first broadcast in New York, Aug. 20, 2013.
Al Jazeera America editorial newsroom staff prepare for their first broadcast in New York, Aug. 20, 2013.Credit: AP
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JTA

Al Jazeera America denied allegations by a former employee who said that the news channel overlooked anti-Semitic, sexist and anti-American misconduct.

“Al Jazeera America does not tolerate any discriminatory conduct and we take great pride in the diversity of our organization and its leadership,” CEO Ehab Al Shihabi said in a statement Monday, USA Today reported. “The recent attacks on us as being anti-Semitic, sexist and anti-American are absurd. Al Jazeera America’s values are based on the highest ethical standards and professionalism. Integrity and respect guide our conduct internally and externally.”

The former employee, Matthew Luke, filed a $15 million lawsuit last week against the company for being fired after complaining about the conduct of his boss, Osman Mahmud. Luke alleges that Mahmud made derogatory comments about Israel, women and the United States.

Three female executives have quit since Luke filed his charges. The latest was the senior vice president of outreach, Marcy McGinnis, who resigned on Monday. The executive vice president of human resources, Diana Lee, and executive vice president of communications, Dawn Bridges, stepped down last week.

Al Jazeera America, which is funded by the government of Qatar, reportedly will fight Luke’s charges.

Luke, who was the supervisor of media and archive management, claims that among other things, Mahmud once said that supporters of Israel “should die a fiery death in hell.”

Mahmud, who oversees broadcast operations and technology at the network, denied the charges in an interview with the Washington Post.

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