Jeff Vaughn, Former KCAL Anchor, Files $5 Million Suit for ‘Anti-White’ Discrimination

A former anchor on KCAL and KCBS has filed a $5 million lawsuit claiming he was fired because he was a white man.

Jeff Vaughn is represented by America First Legal, the conservative legal group that has taken aim at diversity, equity and inclusion programs, calling them illegal “anti-white discrimination.”

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Vaughn worked at the CBS-owned station group for eight years, until his departure last September. In the suit, he says he was never given a reason for his firing.

“But it was obvious,” the suit states. “He was fired because he is an older, white, heterosexual, male.”

America First Legal also represents Brian Beneker, a script coordinator on “SEAL Team” who has sued CBS for failing to hire him for a writing job on the show. In that case, CBS has cited the First Amendment in support of its right to engage in diverse hiring practices.

Both lawsuits cite CBS’ stated goal of having Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) representation reach 40% in its TV writers rooms in 2021-22 and 50% in 2022-23.

Vaughn’s suit also notes that Wendy McMahon, the CEO of CBS News, has been lauded for prioritizing DEI initiatives, and for hiring and promoting women and people of color.

Before he was let go, Vaughn alleges that he was excluded from coverage of the 9/11 anniversary. He also states that he was left off of a billboard advertising the newscast in favor of his nonwhite and female colleagues, and that he was excluded from social events.

In 2023, the stations auditioned replacements for his position, ushering them into the studio while Vaughn was at work, the suit alleges.

“All the individuals who came on set to audition for his position were younger, racial minorities,” the suit states.

The station group hired Chauncy Glover, who had been an anchor at the ABC affiliate in Houston for the previous eight years. The suit contends that Glover — who is Black — had “minimal” experience, though Glover has worked in TV news since graduating from college in 2007.

In a similar discrimination case, Kyle Hunter sued KCAL and KCBS in 2012, alleging that the stations refused to hire him as a weathercaster because they were only looking for “younger attractive females.”

In that case, CBS argued that its choice of weathercasters was a matter of free speech, which trumped the discrimination claim.

A California appeals court sided with CBS, finding that Hunter did not offer sufficient evidence that he was the victim of discrimination.

“The fact that CBS hired two younger women to serve as its primetime weather anchors does not support a rational inference of pretext or discriminatory animus,” the appeals court held in that case.

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