Village Voice Sex Harass Suit

Gay editor claims lewd treatment, unjust firing at alt weekly

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Village Voice Sex Harass Suit

[Disclosure: The entire TSG staff has previously worked in some capacity at The Village Voice. We know all parties mentioned in the below federal lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court. Thought we'd mention it.]

OCTOBER 14--A former editor at The Village Voice, the progressive alternative weekly, claims that he was sexually harassed and exposed to a barrage of crude comments about his gay lifestyle before being unjustly fired last year after 38 years at the New York newspaper. In an October 12 lawsuit, a copy of which you'll find below, Richard Goldstein, 61, alleges that Voice editor Donald Forst regularly made lewd and insulting comments about him and other Voice employees. Those insulting remarks, Goldstein claims, involved gay men, lesbians, a Vietnamese worker, and a pregnant employee, among others. Goldstein, who is well-known for his coverage of gay issues and who edited the Voice's annual "Queer Issue," also contends that the weekly has engaged in age discrimination by firing many of its older workers over the last few years. On six of the suit's seven claims, Goldstein is seeking in excess of $1 million in damages. For alleged breach of contract, the seventh claim, he wants a severance payment. The lawsuit was filed three months after the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission closed its investigation of Goldstein's claims and issued a "dismissal and notice of rights." The EEOC reported that it was "unable to conclude that the information obtained establishes violations of the statues. This does not certify that the respondent [the Voice] is in compliance with the statutes," according to a letter sent to Goldstein. Voice spokesperson Jessica Bellucci told TSG that the paper believes Goldstein's complaint is "without merit" and that the weekly would vigorously defend itself against his charges. (15 pages)