Los Angeles, CA

Judge says Arab can sue United Airline 

October 12, 2002
A judge has cleared the way for a discrimination lawsuit by an Arab-American who was removed from a United Airlines flight three months after the Sept. 11 attacks.
      U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper ruled that although airlines need to remove passengers who pose a security threat, that duty ``does not grant them a license to discriminate.''
      The American Civil Liberties Union sued on behalf of Assem Bayaa, an Irvine auditor who was removed from a New York-bound United flight in Los Angeles on Dec. 23.

L.A. apartment-seeker gets $50K in fair housing case

October 04, 2002
The Southern California Housing Rights Center announced that the owner of a Los Angeles apartment complex has paid $50,000 to an apartment-seeker to settle claims of race discrimination.
      In McClen v. Wirkus (Los Angeles Superior Court, September 2002), an African-American woman alleged in state court that because of her race, the landlord put her on a wait list instead of offering her an available unit. The complaint also alleged that HRC's race test at the 12-unit owner-occupied complex confirmed discrimination based on race. Under the settlement in this case, the landlord will pay $50,000 to Ms. McClen.

Studio won't edit 'Barbershop'

September 26, 2002
Despite the threat of a boycott by the Rev. Al Sharpton, MGM says it will not remove a scene from the hit comedy "Barbershop" that mocks civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks.
      Instead, the studio is planning a sequel to the film, which has topped the U.S. box office for two weeks and earned more than $38.4 million.
      Sharpton has said he may urge people to stop seeing the movie, about the importance of a barbershop hangout in a black neighborhood in Chicago, unless the studio makes a public apology and agrees to explore changes to the scene on video and DVD.

So. Calif. HRC gets 2nd consent decree vs. websites  

September 26, 2002
The Southern California Housing Rights Center (“HRC”) has obtained its second Consent Decree in litigation filed against rental websites. HRC also announced the results of an investigation into the advertising practices of the seven major rental websites in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. After reviewing residential rental listings published on the internet, HRC concluded that each of the seven websites had published numerous statements that demonstrated preference or discrimination based on the classes protected by federal or California law.
      In the midst of the investigation, HRC has already obtained out-of-court settlements with three websites and federal Consent Decrees and Orders with monetary relief against two more websites. In its most recent case, HRC v. Apartment Hunters, et al, #02-CV-5310 (C.D. Cal. Sept. 2002), HRC alleged that the defendants published statements such as “no children,” “will accept a married couple 40 years and older,” near synagogue,” “adult building,” and “professional preferred” on their website, and that these statements discriminate on the basis of familial status, religion, marital status, source of income and age in violation of federal and/or California fair housing laws. The complaint also alleged that defendants republished these statements in newspaper, replacing the landlords’ contact information with defendants’ website address to get readers to pay them for the contact information.
      Judge Margaret Morrow signed an Order on September 6, 2002 under which Apartment Hunters and its owners shall comply with the following terms for two years: 1) provide HRC with a no-cost membership to its website for monitoring and testing purposes; 2)prohibit the posting of discriminatory statements (using specialty software and spot-checking); 3) Email fair housing information to its customers; 4) Post a fair housing footer on each page of its website with text on fair housing and HRC contact information; 5) Include Equal Housing Opportunity symbol in all advertising; 6) Display a fair housing banner (to be designed by HRC) at the top of each page during the months of April 2003 and April 2004 (National Fair Housing Month); 7) Attendance by owners and employees at an HRC fair housing training. HRC attorney Gary Rhoades stated that these terms reached in HRC v. Apartment Hunters are similar to those reached in the other five resolutions.

Movie chain sued for discrimination

August 30, 2002
Two Afghan-Americans sued the AMC movie theater chain for civil rights violations, claiming they were kicked out of a show for speaking the native language of Afghanistan.
     The federal lawsuit, filed Thursday, contends Mohammad Sayed and Omar Zazia were victims of discrimination, and seeks unspecified damages and a court order that AMC take steps to prevent future occurrences.
     That could include employee training and a policy against such discrimination, said Ben Wizner, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, which filed the suit. 

Calif. police officer indicted in beating of teen

July 18, 2002
A white police officer caught on videotape pummeling a handcuffed black teenager has been indicted on assault charges, less than two weeks after a beating that has drawn comparisons to the Rodney King case.
     Inglewood Officer Jeremy Morse, 24, is expected to surrender later today, said his attorney, John D. Barnett. Morse will plead innocent, he said.
     A grand jury also returned an indictment Wednesday afternoon against Morse's partner, Officer Bijan Darvish. He will face a charge of filing a false police report and is also expected to surrender today, Barnett said. 

Study: Network TV lacking diversity

May 15, 2002
Network television has made scant progress toward ethnic diversity in programming and even lost ground when it comes to the shows favored by young viewers, a new study says.
      A 1999 vow by the major networks to include more minorities in prime-time series has largely gone unfulfilled, according to an analysis of the current season by Children Now, a research and advocacy group.
      The networks are telling "essentially the same old tale," the report said, in which younger white males predominate, ethnic actors are relegated to supporting roles and female characters are often stereotypes.

Report names slaves, owners and insurers

May 02, 2002
Seeking to shed light on an infamous chapter in the nation's history, California's insurance commissioner on Wednesday released a report on slave insurance that names some 433 slaveholders who purchased policies, 614 slaves who were covered and three insurers that sold coverage.
      Prompted by a California law in 2000 that mandates all insurance companies operating in the state to open their archives, the report is expected not only to provide crucial details about slavery to historians and genealogists but also add momentum to the controversial reparations movement.
      A lawsuit was filed Wednesday in New Jersey against New York Life, one of the insurers listed in the California report, and civil rights leaders are pressing legislators in other states to pass laws similar to the California statute.

Immigrants face hurdles on buying

May 02, 2002
BellSouth Corp. denied black employees promotions through unfair advancement tests and policies, five workers claim in a federal discrimination lawsuit.
     The five employees are seeking to have the lawsuit, filed Monday in Birmingham, Ala., designated a class-action applicable to an estimated 15,000 black BellSouth workers.
     The suit accuses BellSouth of "a lengthy history of using unvalidated tests" to prevent black employees from advancing to management and other higher positions. 

Bill would ban Indian mascots

May 01, 2002
Fed up from years of battling local school boards over what they consider an issue of basic civil rights, Native American groups are pushing legislation that would make California the first state in the nation to banish all Indian team mascots from public schools.
      Local crusades to rid schools of the cartoon chiefs and tomahawk chops that many Native Americans consider culturally insensitive often run counter to popular sentiment. They almost always meet resistance from students and alumni bent on preserving tradition, as well as conservatives crying foul over political correctness. Sometimes they encounter opposition from other Native Americans.
      But so far in Sacramento, the activists have found virtually no resistance, and may be poised to win their biggest victory since Stanford University retired the Indians and embraced the Cardinal three decades ago. "Locally, it is suicide," said John Orendorff, a Los Angeles school counselor and veteran of the mascot wars. "This is groundbreaking."


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