×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

DramaFever Exec Accuses Warner Bros. of Anti-Asian Bias

A former executive at the Asian-themed OTT service DramaFever filed suit on Wednesday, accusing Warner Bros. of laying off Asian-American executives due to bias.

Chung Chang was vice president of finance at DramaFever, which Warner Bros. acquired from SoftBank in 2016. In October, the company announced that it would shut down the service and lay off 20% of the workforce.

Chang, 46, was among those who were let go. In the suit, he alleges that three other Asian-American executives were also terminated on the same day, while four white vice presidents were retained. Chang alleges this was in keeping with a pattern of discriminatory comments he and other Asian-American employees had experienced since the Warner Bros. acquisition.

Chang reported to Patty Hirsch, who was hired in March 2018 to run Warner Bros. Digital Labs. Chang claims that when he told Hirsch that he was Korean-American, she said, “Oh, you’re not Chinese?”

The suit also states that in a meeting shortly after the acquisition, a Warner Bros. media executive expressed surprise that the Asian-American DramaFever executives did not have accents, and said it was “amazing” how good their English was.

Chang also alleges that Hirsch once said Warner Bros. wanted to fill executive roles with “people who could sell,” and named two white executives as examples.

“They just wanted people in executive leadership who look and sound like they do, and who the Company believed would present better to Studio executives in Burbank,” the suit states. “In other words, Warner Bros. and Ms. Hirsch sought out White executives who were racially and/or ethnically similar to the existing White leadership at the Company in the biased belief that they would be more effective operating within a similar culture.”

The suit notes that Warner Bros.’ CEO, Kevin Tsujihara, is Japanese-American. Nevertheless, the suit states that the majority of Warner Bros. executives are white.

“Warner Bros.’ culture of permissiveness allowed discrimination against Asian-Americans to go unchecked,” Chang alleges. “High-level White executives at Warner Bros. made offensive race-based comments and discriminated against and retaliated against Asian-Americans even though they reported to an Asian-American CEO.”

Chang says he raised concerns about how Asian-Americans were treated with Hirsch, and later found his responsibilities were curtailed. After he was laid off, Chang says he retained an attorney and put the company on notice that he would pursue a discrimination claim.

At that point, Chang alleges that the company launched an internal probe with the aim of blaming Chang for costly music licensing issues on the OTT service.

“The claims in this case are without merit,” Warner Bros. said in a statement. “We will vigorously defend ourselves and we expect to prevail. Additionally, the allegations against Ms. Hirsch are completely unfounded and she has our unequivocal support.”

More Digital

  • Samsung's Galaxy Fold Launch Delayed After

    Samsung Officially Delays Galaxy Fold Launch

    Samsung has officially delayed the launch of its much-anticipated foldable phone, the Galaxy Fold, after multiple reviewers experienced issues with the device’s screen. The company said in a statement that it would announce a new release data for the device “in the coming weeks.” The Galaxy Fold had first been unveiled at a press event [...]

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    Cord Cutting Will Accelerate in 2019, Skinny Bundles Poised to Fail (Report)

    The pace of cord cutting is continuing to accelerate this year, according to a new Convergence Research Group report, with 4.56 million TV households opting to ditch pay TV. By the end of the year, 34% of U.S. households won’t have a traditional TV subscription, according to the research company’s latest “Battle for the American [...]

  • Missing Link Laika Studios

    ‘Missing Link’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Annapurna Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Missing Link.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.91 million through Sunday for [...]

  • Sirius Logo

    SiriusXM Unveils $8 Essential Plan for Consumers Without Cars

    SiriusXM wants to cater consumers without cars, or cars without compatible stereos, with a new $8 plan for mobile and in-home listening. Dubbed SiriusXM Essential, the plan offers access to 200+ channels featuring the network’s entire music programming, as well comedy, news and select sports channels. Consumers will be able to test the new plan [...]

  • Mueller Report Book Editions Top Amazon's

    Mueller Report Book Editions Shoot to Top of Best-Seller Lists at Amazon, Barnes & Noble

    Robert Mueller is now a best-selling author. Book publishers’ forthcoming editions of the special counsel’s report zoomed to the top of the Amazon’s and Barnes & Noble’s lists of book best-sellers Friday. That comes a day after the report was publicly released, culminating the nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election [...]

  • Marques Brownlee - Retro Tech

    YouTube Orders Marques Brownlee 'Retro Tech' Original Series

    YouTube has turned to one of its homegrown stars — technology vlogger Marques Brownlee, aka “MKBHD” — for its newest original series. The video platform has greenlit series “Retro Tech” featuring Brownlee, in which he’ll unbox and review vintage technology products that have defined pop culture. The show, slated to debut in December 2019, follows [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content