A casting executive is taking E! to court, alleging she was wrongfully terminated due to the physical affects she suffered after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Blythe Asher is suing the network — and its parent company, NBCUniversal — for discrimination, retaliation, breach of contract and wrongful termination.
In a recently filed lawsuit, Asher — senior vice president of talent development at E! — was fired over what she alleges was the company’s concern over her “sickly appearance” when meeting with executives and celebrities.
“Asher was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 and underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments,” states THR, adding that she experienced a brief remission before suffering a complication when she was diagnosed with lymphedema, which caused “significant swelling” in one of her arms.
“Despite her pain and discomfort and despite comments from management regarding her sickly appearance, Asher persevered and continued to perform her job duties, which included public appearances, executive meetings, and meetings with celebrities,” writes lawyer Carney Shegerian in the complaint.
In her suit, Asher claims an E! exec suggested “she wear a poncho to cover her arm,” which was then followed by a less-than-glowing performance review and then her firing.
Asher believes the way she looked was “paramount to her employment” and the lymphedema was the real reason for her termination — which Asher says became clear when she was later replaced by a “younger, less experienced, physically attractive, and cancer-free individual.”
An E! spokesperson was contacted for comment, replying: “We don’t comment on personnel matters.”