B. Scott sues BET for anti-gay discrimination

Michelle Clancy | 08-08-2013

Openly gay TV and Internet personality Brandon Sessoms, aka B Scott, has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court accusing BET and its parent company Viacom of being responsible for gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation discrimination.

He alleges that he received disparate treatment while working as a Style Stage correspondent for the BET Awards Pre-Show, held 30 June, 2013. B Scott said he was pulled from his hosting duties after being told his transgendered appearance was unacceptable. He addressed the situation in an open letter on his website: "It's not just about the fact that BET forced me to pull my hair back, asked me to take off my make-up, made me change my clothes and prevented me from wearing a heel. It's more so that the mentality and environment created by BET made me feel ... that something was wrong with who I am as a person."

BET issued an apology note, which B Scott has rejected. "While I want nothing more than to put this incident behind me and move on with my life, I still wholeheartedly believe that I'm entitled to a true public apology" he said in a statement released via his official website. "BET's non-apology statement added more insult to injury. What happened to me was not a 'miscommunication' nor was it 'unintentional'. It was wrong. I have been vehemently trying to come to a resolution with BET and Viacom behind the scenes. After a few weeks of back and forth dialogue with no foreseeable resolution, I have filed a lawsuit against BET and its parent company Viacom for discrimination on the basis of gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation."

"Any form of discrimination is wrong and has no place in the work environment, in Corporate America or in Hollywood," said B Scott's representation, civil rights attorney Waukeen McCoy. McCoy successfully argued the gay marriage cases before the California Supreme Court in 2008.

Despite ongoing efforts "to resolve the issue in a discreet manner," B Scott is suing for a public apology and damages in excess of $2.5 million.