E!’s drama-filled week leading up to the Oscars continues: A former producer is suing the network, claiming she was fired for allowing an interview to air that supported former host Catt Sadler.
According to the New York Times report, the lawsuit filed by freelance producer Aileen Gram-Moreno stems from a red-carpet interview with Eva Longoria at January’s Golden Globes. Longoria said, “We support gender equity and equal pay, and we hope that E! follows that lead with Catt as well. We stand with you, Catt,” voicing her support for Sadler, who quit as an E! News host after learning that her male co-host made nearly double her salary. Gram-Moreno says she was instructed to flag all mentions of Sadler and Time’s Up/#MeToo before they made it to air, but she didn’t flag the Longoria clip in time.
She says she was fired five days later from all awards-show coverage on the network, and explicitly told it was because she allowed Longoria’s Sadler mention to make it to air. (She adds that she was replaced by a male producer who received a higher title than hers.)
UPDATE: Sadler on Saturday released the following statement to our sister site Variety:
It’s disappointing that any network would order the censorship of opinions. But it’s particularly disturbing in this case because we are at a cultural tipping point where women feel more and more comfortable being vocal about issues like pay equality and sexual misconduct. To shut down those conversations is to stifle progress.
E! already has plenty of controversy to deal with: Ryan Seacrest is still planning to anchor the network’s red-carpet coverage at Sunday’s Oscar ceremony, despite the very public sexual harassment allegations made against him by a former stylist. Seacrest’s Live co-host Kelly Ripa voiced her support for him this week, calling him “a privilege to work with.”