‘SEAL Team’ Writer Sues CBS And TV Show For Discrimination

SEAL Team / YouTube

There is a current ongoing lawsuit against CBS and the television show SEAL Team. The lawsuit is a discrimination lawsuit alleging that the network and show are practicing discriminatory hiring practices in the writers’ room. However, the twist here is that it is a man claiming he is discriminated against because he is a “white, heterosexual male.”

Here is what you need to know about the recent lawsuit and the defense CBS is taking in the case.

Writer Sues CBS & SEAL Team TV Show For Discrimination

A longtime script coordinator has sued CBS and the television series SEAL Team for discrimination in its hiring practices. The man claims that he has worked for years to earn a staff writer position on the show but was passed over solely because he is a “white, heterosexual male.”

SEAL Team David Boreanaz as Jason Hayes, Neil Brown Jr. as Ray Perry in SEAL Team, streaming on Paramount+. Photo: Monty Brinton/Paramount+. © 2022 CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The man who filed the lawsuit is Brian Beneker. He has worked as a script coordinator for SEAL Team since March 2017. He filed the lawsuit in February and says he was denied a staff writer position repeatedly while CBS hired and promoted several people ahead of him who “lacked experience and screenwriting credits but were part of the favored hiring groups; that is, they were nonwhite, LGBTQ, or female.”

Beneker said he started seeking employment as a staff writer in June 2019. Instead of hiring him, the show hired what he refers to as a:

  • “Black male” and “Black woman” Season 3)
  • “white” “female former writer’s assistant” (Season 5)
  • “Black” “female writer’s assistant” (Season 6)
  • “white,” “lesbian” “female writer’s assistant” (Season 6)
  • “white” “female writer’s assistant” (Season 7)

Beneker claims this is part of a rule to hire 40% BIPOC candidates for their writer’s rooms. He claims that the rules mean that “heterosexual, white men” need more qualifications than others applying for the same jobs. In the lawsuit, he wants a full-time job as a producer and financial damages.

CBS Claims First Amendment Protections

CBS has asked that the lawsuit be dismissed. The reasoning is that the network claims that they have a “constitutional right under the First Amendment to select the writers whose work shapes CBS’s artistic enterprise” (via TV Line)

CBS also wrote that “limiting CBS’s ability to select the writers of its choice — as Beneker seeks to do here — unconstitutionally impairs CBS’s ability to shape its message.”

CBS also claims that two of the six instances fall outside of the statute of limitations. Three others don’t count because they are hires of the same race, regardless of gender or sexual preference.

As for the extent of Beneker’s experience that he touted, he has only worked as a script coordinator over his television career. He worked on one episode of Resurrection Blvd., 13 episodes of Sons of Anarchy, 10 episodes of The Defenders, 20 episodes of Vegas, and 90 episodes of SEAL Team.

Do you think Brian Beneker has a leg to stand on in his lawsuit? Do you think it will get tossed without a trial? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Shawn Lealos
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