‘SEAL Team’ Writer Sues CBS, Paramount for Hiring Discrimination Against Being Straight, Male and White

Brian Beneker seeks $500,000 in damages, claims network requires more experience than from nonwhite, LGBTQ or female staff

Seal Team
"SEAL Team" (Credit: Paramount+)

“SEAL Team” script coordinator and freelance scriptwriter Brian Beneker sued CBS and its parent company Paramount Global, accusing them of racial discrimination against straight, white men.

In a legal document filed Thursday in California federal court and obtained by TheWrap, Beneker said he filed the lawsuit because the companies “repeatedly” discriminated against him by “denying him employment and extending job opportunities to him based on his race, sex and sexual orientation in favor of less qualified applicants who were members of preferred groups.”

Beneker, who identifies as a “white, heterosexual male,” explained that he’s been consistently writing episodes for “SEAL Team” and was denied a staff writer position with the show at a time when there were job openings available. The suit goes on to say that CBS and Paramount hired and promoted “favored” “nonwhite,” “LGBTQ” or “female” writers, despite those writers lacking “experience and screenwriting credits.”

Representing Beneker is the conservative America First Legal Foundation, which was founded by Donald Trump speechwriter Stephen Miller.

Beneker was hired as a script coordinator for “SEAL Team” in March 2017 and was offered to write an episode script as a freelance writer in its second season. He said showrunner John Glenn required him to quit his script coordinator role in order to write a freelance script, which ended up being Season 2, Episode 14, “What Appears to Be.” He went on to write additional scripts for the show.

In 2019, Beneker said he questioned why a Black writer was given a staff writer job over him, to which Glenn allegedly said CBS was hiring a person of color to fill racial quotas in hiring for writers’ rooms. He said he was told he didn’t check off “any diversity boxes” as a straight, white man. Over the course of the next two years, Beneker said CBS hired six female writers, two Black writers and a person who identified as lesbian.

Beneker claimed CBS “created a situation where heterosexual, white men need ‘extra’ qualifications (including military experience or previous writing credits) to be hired as staff writers when compared to their nonwhite, LGBTQ or female peers, who require no such ‘extra’ qualifications.”

Beneker wants $500,000 in damages as a result of alleged lost wages, which is for “back pay,” “future back pay,” loss of benefits and expected wage increases under his union contract. He also wants a court order to instate him as a full-time producer on the series and put an end to the alleged discriminatory practices.

It’s unclear how this would be put into practice, as “SEAL Team” is set to end after its forthcoming Season 7 on Paramount+, where it moved last season after previously airing on CBS.


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