Briana Thomas, a prominent extra on soap opera “Young & the Restless,” has sued Sony and CBS and accused showrunner Anthony Morina of sexual harassment.
Thomas alleges that when she shot down Morina’s advances, she was wrongly terminated from the daytime program.
She is seeking “unpaid wages” and “premium pay,” as well as compensatory, exemplary and punitive damages, attorneys’s fees and other financial relief.
Thomas played the barista at the show’s Crimson Lights Coffeehouse, and “appeared fairly regularly for several years.” The character was assigned the name “Lizzy Cooper.” At this point, Thomas was taping the show “almost every day,” according to her lawyers, amassing more than 150 appearances from February 2018 to January 2019.
The filing accuses Morina of making “inappropriate sexual comments and advances” toward Thomas. When they met, Morina “obstructed [Thomas’s] path to the dressing room,” it reads. He then “placed his hand on [her] shoulder and was staring at her breasts,” the suit continues.
The lawsuit states that Morina then complimented Thomas’s “great look” and offered to give her “a private acting lesson.” It also describes a series of exchanges while Thomas was in a bikini for a poolside scene. At that time, Thomas says Morina went so far as to play with the strings of her bikini bottoms.
Morina would regularly suggest to Thomas that he could advance her career took him up on his offer to help, according to the filing. The undertones were sexual, it says.
Another time Thomas says Morina cornered her, she rejected him with a “firm tone.” He then asked Thomas “if she knew what she was doing, making a clear threat,” the suit says.
TheWrap reached out to CBS and “Young and the Restless” to request comment on this story. We did not immediately hear back.
Morina’s “harassing and inappropriate conduct continued,” the filing went on — as did Thomas “spurning” the advances. That’s when the retaliation began, according to her attorneys. That included “yelling,” “cursing” and “verbally threatening” Thomas, saying there was “not going to be a part for [her].”
“I’m the reason why you have a job. I am doing you a favor. I like you. Do you understand what I am saying?” Thomas recalled Molina yelling.
When she left work that day, Thomas says she received an email terminating her employment. Thomas also says she was never paid at the rate she was told she “should” get.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.