×
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

  • Cory-Haik-Vice

    Vice Media Hires Cory Haik, Former Mic Publisher, as Chief Digital Officer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Vice Media has recruited Cory Haik, former publisher of digital news start-up Mic, as chief digital officer to lead the youth-culture company’s global internet businesses. Haik will be based in Vice’s Brooklyn headquarters and report to CEO Nancy Dubuc. She most recently worked at Mic, which last fall laid off virtually its entire staff before [...]

  • Snapchat logos

    Porn Studio Starts Building X-Rated Snapchat Lenses, Encourages Users to Do the Same

    Adult entertainment company Naughty America wants to use augmented reality to get the word out about its paid services. The company has begun to make Snapchat lenses featuring some of its models, and is teaching its audience to do the same. Naughty America shared three such lenses on its website (link not safe for work) [...]

  • New, Likely Cheaper Galaxy Home Speaker

    Samsung Is Getting Ready to Introduce Second Smart Speaker

    Samsung still isn’t selling its Galaxy Home smart speaker, but the company may be getting ready to introduce a second model soon: An FCC filing for an “AI speaker” suggests that the new model, like the original Galaxy Home, will be dual-branded, featuring both Samsung’s own brand name as well as that of its audio [...]

  • Streaming Placeholder

    TikTok Owner Preparing Streaming Service to Rival Spotify (Report)

    ByteDance, the Beijing-based owner of the TikTok video app, is developing a paid streaming music service aimed at the same emerging markets that Spotify and Apple are seeking to explore, according to a report in Bloomberg. The app could be introduced as early as autumn, according to the report, which adds that the company has [...]

  • VidCon-Now-Stacey-Kelly

    VidCon Launches First Original Series to Promote Creators Year-Round

    VidCon brings together thousands of fervent fans at its annual conventions, who flock to the events to see their favorite YouTubers and other digital celebs in the flesh. Now the Viacom-owned division is trying to keep the excitement burning during the VidCon off-season, too. This week VidCon is launching its first foray into original content [...]

  • Stranger Things

    Coca-Cola Will Revive New Coke in Alliance With Netflix, 'Stranger Things'

    A rush of TV watchers to streaming video has prompted Coca-Cola to test an interesting pour. Coca-Cola will bring New Coke back to market for a brief time, all part of a partnership with Netflix, which has featured Coke in its cult-favorite series “Stranger Things.” The third season of the series, set in 1985, will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content