Jonas Schwartz, a longtime host on SNY, filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accusing his employer of racial discrimination and retaliation.
Schwartz, who is white, said that his contract was not renewed and he will be leaving the network in February. The complaint, which is a requirement before filing a lawsuit, also noted that he’s been off the air since early January. A representative for SNY did not immediately return a request for comment on the complaint, which was filed by lawyer Kristan Peters-Hamlin last week.
According to the complaint, Schwartz was involved with a spring 2020 segment on social justice in sports in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, and management said he did “well.” His co-panelists included Jeané Coakley, Bart Scott and Ralph Vacchiano. Of the three, Vacchiano was the only other white participant.
Schwartz’s complaint said he was removed from similar subsequent programming in August of last year after Coakley said, “No offense, but I don’t want to do this with a couple of white guys. You can’t understand what we are going through. Why are we doing this with white guys?”
Per the complaint, Schwartz told management he felt that he had been removed from the show because of his race and was advised not to “look at it that way” because he didn’t “play the right position” for the week’s taping. Schwartz countered that the “position,” in that context, was his race. The complaint alleges “reverse race discrimination.”
From there, according to the document, Schwartz had a meeting with management in September during which they acknowledged the situation wasn’t handled correctly, but pointed out he wasn’t docked pay for being removed from the taping. In October 2020, Schwartz was informed that his contract would not be renewed. The complaint said Schwartz believes he will be replaced as the host for pre- and post-Jets game coverage “with a less qualified candidate for the position.”