AceShowbiz - Dr. Ian Smith, a former host on medical TV talk show "The Doctors", has filed a lawsuit against the show. In his unlawful termination complaint that he filed on Monday, July 19, Smith accused distributor ViacomCBS, production company Stage 29 Productions, Dr. Phil's son Jay McGraw, who heads the firm, and the show's executive producer Patty Ciano of racial discrimination among others.
Smith claimed that the show hired as co-host the show in 2013 for its sixth season. However, he was not asked to return for season 7 after he "voiced complaints regarding discrimination which he experienced and observed."
"African-American hosts were on fewer shows than white hosts. African-American hosts were paid less than white hosts," Smith, who is black, stated in the complaint. "African-American hosts were not in as many integration segments as white hosts. There were not enough African-American producers."
He claimed that Ciano offered him to become a solo host of a show following the murder of George Floyd and civil unrest around the country. "[Dr. Smith] specifically said that there had been racial issues during his first tenure and unfair treatment of African-American hosts. He said that he would return only if that conduct was not going to be repeated," the suit stated, adding that "[Ciano] assured him that things had changed for the better, the show would be committed to fair treatment and there would not be any discriminatory behavior."
However, after Smith returned, Ciano didn't make any difference when it came about diversity. Smith suggested to Ciano "several black producers" who could be added to the show. As for Ciano's response, Ciano reportedly told Smith, "I don't think that's important right now. We have you as the host. That's what matters. Besides, I really don't have the budget to hire any more producers." Instead, Ciano hired more white producers two weeks after that.
Smith also accused Ciano of sexual harassment. He claimed that she told him to wear "tighter clothes" on camera.
Prior to this, former co-host Dr. Rachael Ross made similar accusations about Ciano and the show. She called the workplace "toxic," adding that Ciano constantly harassed her about her hair. Ciano, however, denied the allegations at the time.
"I am devastated by these unfounded and shocking allegations. I stand by my character and know the truth, that I have been a champion for diverse talent and inclusive stories throughout my entire career. While it is impossible to prove that I did not do something, I can absolutely say these hurtful lies are not true," she said at the time.