DramaFever Exec Files Suit Against Warner Bros. for Racial Discrimination

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

An executive of the now shuttered DramaFever streaming service filed suit against Warner Bros. claiming the multimedia company discriminated against himself and other employees based on race. DramaFever's vice president of finance Chung Chang claims that he and three other Asian-American executives were terminated when Warner Bros. shut down the service and laid off 20% of its 110 employees.

Chang alleges that while the four Asian-American executives were let go, Warner Bros. retained the company's four white executive employees. He also recounts discriminatory comments made by other Warner Bros. executives toward himself and is fellow Asian-American coworkers. Chang's account includes an incident when Warner Bros. Digital Labs front-runner Patty Hirsch remarked that she thought Chang was Chinese when he informed her he is Korean-American and another Warner Bros. media executive conveyed surprise that the DramaFever Asian-American staff spoke without accents and was surprised at how articulate their English was.

Chang also alleges that Hirsch described filling executive roles with "people who could sell" and referred to two white employees as examples.

“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 states.

With the exception of Warner Bros.' CEO Kevin Tsujihara, the suit states that the majority of Warner Bros. executives are white.

Chang says he brought up his concerns of racial bias to Hirsch but found that his responsibilities were cut down after the meeting. He informed Warner Bros. that he would pursue a discrimination case against the company after he was let go.

Warner Bros. responded in a statement and said, “The claims in this case are without merit. We will vigorously defend ourselves and we expect to prevail.”

DramaFever was founded in 2009. Japanese telecommunications conglomerate SoftBank acquired the company in 2014, and Warner Bros. acquired the company from SoftBank in 2016. The service streamed Korean and other Asian dramas, as well as Latin American telenovelas, subtitled in multiple languages. These shows include live-action adaptations of various manga series, including Hayate the Combat Butler, Absolute Boyfriend, and Skip Beat!. DramaFever co-produced Naeil's Cantabile, the South Korean drama adaptation of Nodame Cantabile.

Variety cited a source familiar with DramaFever, who said that licensing costs for Korean dramas had risen to about US$1 million per season, driven by rivaling bids from Netflix and Amazon.

Source: Variety (Gene Maddaus)

discuss this in the forum (9 posts) |
bookmark/share with:

this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history

Interest homepage / archives