Joseph Vallin, a veteran set painter and decorator, filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit Wednesday against 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures and the Union of Motion Picture Set Painters claiming he was discriminated against because he is gay.
In the lawsuit filed in L.A. Superior Court, Vallin claimed that his union co-workers and supervisors routinely harassed and discriminated against him and subjected him to name-calling.
He also claims he was blacklisted by the union as a result of complaining about the treatment to studio execs and union officials.
In the 33-page complaint, Vallin says he was mooned and flashed by co-workers and was constantly called “faggot” and “pedophile.” The lawsuit also claims a paint foreman at 20th refused to hire Vallin and stated, “we don’t hire faggots.”
“It’s important to send a message to this ostensibly civil and gay-friendly industry that sexual harassment and gay-baiting is unacceptable and illegal,” Leroy Walker, Vallin’s attorney told Daily Variety. “As soon as he spoke up, his career was in jeopardy.”
The week, after filing his first complaint with the union, Vallin claims he stopped getting calls for jobs and that the list of available set painters distributed by the Set Painters Union no longer included his name. Vallin’s claim also asserts entry-level painters were getting jobs ahead of him.
Attorneys at Fox and Sony could not be reached for comment. A union spokesman declined to comment.