Disney Sued For Harassment & Discrimination By ‘Muppets’ Editor

A seasoned assistant film editor has filed a complaint of harassment, gender discrimination and wrongful termination against Walt Disney Pictures and Muppets movie editor James Thomas. “Defendants retaliated against Plaintiff, created a hostile work environment and treated Plaintiff differently because she was an Asian woman over age 40, and terminated Plaintiff’s employment because of her gender, race and family responsibilities and because she made good faith complaints and opposed Defendants’ unlawful conduct,” says the complaint (read it here) filed by Cecilia Hyoun’s lawyer on June 3 in LA Superior Court. “Defendants also falsely claimed that Plaintiff’s position was being eliminated, whereas in truth and in fact a subordinate male employee with vastly less experience than Plaintiff was promoted to her position,” adds the complaint of her June 1, 2011, dismissal from The Muppets. Hyoun is seeking compensatory damages to be determined by the court in a jury trial for her lost wages, sick pay, and vacation pay. Hyoun started work on The Muppets in the fall of 2010 and claims she even turned down another job at Paramount because she expected to be working on the film until November of 2011. Claiming that Thomas made negative comments about her race, the postproduction vet is also seeking punitive damages and mental and emotional distress damages as well as interest and legal costs and “other and further relief as the court deems just and proper”. The dense seven claim filing against Disney, Thomas and DMP Productions also says that Hyoun previously had brought the issue to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Hyoun says she received a right-to-sue letter from the state agency after they investigated the matter. The experienced assistant editor notes in her complaint that she has not landed a full-time gig and gets calls for work far less often since being let go from The Muppets several months before she was led to believe her job would end. At the same time, she appears to be under no illusions of the consequences of her legal action. “Like many, many people in the motion picture industry, Plaintiff is fearful of being blackballed for standing up to a major studio over its discriminatory practices,” notes the complaint.


The 2011 Muppets movie was not actually the first time Hyoun had worked with Thomas. The plaintiff was the first assistant editor on 2010’s Hot Tub Time Machine, where Thomas was one of the two editors. During her 16 years in the industry, Hyoun also has worked as a first assistant editor on the Cameron Crowe-directed Almost Famous and Vanilla Sky as well as on 8 Mile, Charlotte’s Web and other films. Despite that experience, the complaint filed this week says that on The Muppets, Thomas perpetuated “severe and pervasive harassment” against Hyoun as well as made “derogatory comments” about other women involved in the postproduction process. The plaintiff also claims that the editor told the single mom that she needed to choose between her career and her family. “On information and belief he did not interrogate male employees this way,” claims the complaint.

Hyoun is represented by Carol Gillam of LA’s The Gillam Law Firm.




Pupils withdrawn from trip to Edinburgh mosque




A RACE row has broken out after almost a third of the children due to take part in a school field trip to a city mosque were pulled out by their parents.

Children from Newtongrange Primary visited the Central Mosque in Potterrow, but from an original group of 90 pupils, 28 were withdrawn.

The trip had been organised to help educate the primary one, two and five pupils about other religions and cultures.

But one parent today said they didn’t want their child “mixed up in the hate being preached in mosques”.

The incident comes amid heightened tensions in the wake of the killing of soldier Lee Rigby in London, and David Cameron’s pledge to “drain the swamp” of extremism.

Religious leaders and Midlothian councillors condemned parents pulling their children out the trip, but one 42-year-old parent of a P2 pupil, who did not take part, said: “I don’t agree with sending my child to a mosque to learn about a religion that isn’t my own. It’s the hate that is being preached in these mosques that I don’t want my child mixed up in.”

Another said: “If you don’t want your kids learning that kind of stuff, then you should be allowed to say ‘no’. Many of my friends are a different religion to me, but they don’t try to ram it down my throat.”

It is not known whether girls who attended the mosque were asked to wear headscarves or long leggings. For those who didn’t attend, the school laid on an alternative lesson on Islam.

One parent, whose five-year-old was also withdrawn, said her decision had been influenced by recent events.

The 27-year-old mum-of-three said: “The timing was wrong with people protesting and guys getting killed in the street. If things were a bit calmer I’d have sent him along.

“I received the letter about this a few weeks ago and had no problem, but at the end of last week other parents began asking whether it was safe.”

There was a protest by far-right activists outside the Scottish Parliament last week, but there have been none outside the Central Mosque.

But Dr Salah Beltagui, of the Muslim Council of Scotland, said education would help eradicate a “fear of the unknown”.

He said: “These views are rather worrying as they are not based on fact but on fear of the unknown. They are an offshoot of the current hysteria surrounding Islam at the moment in the UK. What happened in Woolwich is in no way representative of Islam, we do not condone violence and we are part of this country too.”

Newtongrange councillor Jim Muirhead said: “Unfortunately people equate recent incidents in Woolwich with religion when in my view such incidents are as far from 
religion as you can get.”

However, Kenny MacDonald, Scottish regional organiser of the BNP, backed the parents. He said: “I applaud these parents in going against the wave of political correctness.”

A spokeswoman for Midlothian Council said: “Some parents chose not to send their children but an alternative lesson on Islam in class was offered to these pupils. We will continue to respect the views of parents.”


As well as the murder of Lee Rigby, the parents may have been influenced by the recent murder of the son of an imam at the mosque. This followed an hours-long car chase and gun rampage through the city by Muslim drug dealers. The imam’s son is believed to have been involved in shady dealings as part of this criminal milieu. Unquestionably, the incident gave the people of Edinburgh a glimpse of the true face of the “religion of peace”




A few years ago, this same mosque (then called the “Islamic Centre of Edinburgh”) was found to be distributing radical jihadist literature.


Whole Foods workers say they were suspended for speaking Spanish



ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Two employees at a Whole Foods Market store in Albuquerque say they were suspended last month after complaining about being told they couldn’t speak Spanish to each other while on the job.

Bryan Baldizan told The Associated Press he and a female employee were suspended for a day after they wrote a letter following a meeting with a manager who told them Spanish was not allowed during work hours.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Baldizan, who works in the store’s food preparation department. “All we did was say we didn’t believe the policy was fair. We only talk Spanish to each other about personal stuff, not work.”

He said Whole Foods officials told them about company policy and issued the suspensions.

Ben Friedland, Whole Foods Market Rocky Mountain Region Executive Marketing Coordinator, said the Austin, Texas-based company believes in “having a uniform form of communication” for a safe working environment.

“Therefore, our policy states that all English speaking Team Members must speak English to customers and other Team Members while on the clock,” Friedland said in a statement. “Team Members are free to speak any language they would like during their breaks, meal periods and before and after work.”

Friedland said the policy doesn’t prevent employees from speaking Spanish to customers who don’t speak English nor does it prevent them from speaking Spanish if all “parties present agree that a different language is their preferred form of communication.”

Whole Foods Market spokeswoman Libba Letton told the AP that in addition to safety reasons, the policy is in place so employees who don’t speak Spanish don’t feel uncomfortable.

The ordeal comes after New Mexico, the most Hispanic state in the nation, saw two recent cases of Spanish being barred from high school athletic competitions.

Last month, New Mexico Military Institute’s Jose Gonzales was penalized a point for speaking Spanish after an on-court official warned him twice to speak only English during a state championship tennis singles match. Sally Marquez, executive director of the New Mexico Activities Association, the governing board for high school sports in the state, said the official was warned not to repeat that action, even though the official was within his right since the association was following the United States Tennis Association rule book during the finals.

In April, an umpire resigned after being accused of trying to ban New Mexico high school baseball players from speaking Spanish during a game. The resignation came after Gadsden Independent School District officials filed a complaint with the association accusing the umpire of telling a first baseman not to speak Spanish during a game in Alamogordo.

Ralph Arellanes, state director of New Mexico League of United Latin American Citizens, said the Whole Foods Market policy violates New Mexico’s state constitution, which protects Spanish and American Indian languages. Latino groups will meet soon about a possible boycott of businesses that have similar policies, he said.