The federal government has sued Vivendi Universal for race discrimination over the firing of an African-American from his post as first assistant director on “2 Fast 2 Furious.”
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the action Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, asserting that Universal claimed it fired Frank Davis last Oct. 9 over performance issues but never produced any evidence of the alleged problems. The suit alleges Universal violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
A spokeswoman for Vivendi Universal said the studio had no comment. Sequel “2 Fast” grossed $127 million domestically and $230 million worldwide.
The agency said witnesses interviewed during the investigation said Davis’ performance was never at issue. The EEOC also said the film was on schedule and on budget at the time of the firing and that Davis was replaced by a white a.d.
“Were it not for Davis’ race, we believe he would not have been fired,” said Noelle Brennan, action regional attorney for the agency. Brennan also said Davis was fired over the objections of the film’s director, John Singleton.
The EEOC said Davis had been directing for 23 years and was personally selected by Singleton. His other credits include “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” “Seven,” “Rising Sun” and “Courage Under Fire.”
“Despite our efforts in the entertainment industry, it is rare that employees are courageous enough to file charges against a major Hollywood studio,” said Olophius Perry, the EEOC’s Los Angeles district director. “Universal’s actions against Davis were reprehensible and unjustified.”