This story is about a year old, but you probably recall that former Flyer Jeremy Roenick was axed by NBC after he went on a Barstool podcast and make a threesome joke involving colleague Kathryn Tappen.
He was initially suspended, then more or less cancelled, and called the whole thing a “joke” in a Twitter post. Later, he filed a lawsuit, alleging in part that being a straight white male contributed to his firing, and this week a judge tossed that part of the suit.
NBC fired Roenick, who subsequently filed a lawsuit claiming, among other things, his employer held him as a heterosexual male to a higher standard. He pointed to a July 2, 2020, video spoof by ice skating commentators Johnny Weir, who is gay, and Tara Lipinski. In it, Lipinski and Weir, who were joined by actors Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins, “used a vulgar term for a woman’s groin and joked about a sexual affair,” according to Roenick’s complaint. NBC disciplined neither.
But Judge John Cronan wasn’t buying it, writing, “(A) comparison of the two incidents shows that Roenick’s behavior was categorically different. Lipinski and Weir participated in a skit for NBC that included jokes about the term ‘camel toe’ and an ‘(o)ffice romance’ between ‘besties.’ Roenick, on the other hand, used his ‘free time’ outside of his role at NBC to tell the hosts of a Barstool Sports podcast that he ‘jokingly implied’ to fellow vacationers that he had sex simultaneously with his NBC co-worker, Tappen, and his wife on multiple occasions.
“Simply put, neither Lipinski nor Weir joked about having sex with a co-worker. Roenick did. Whether these two incidents were ‘of comparable seriousness,’ is not even close.”
Roenick is allowed to continue with the rest of the suit, which alleges that NBC retaliated against him. The gist of that is that Roenick says his then-boss, Sam Flood, would demean and criticize Tappen, and Roenick believes he was fired partly because he went to Flood and basically told him to knock it off.
We’ll see what happens here. If you recall, Roenick originally apologized and served a suspension, but was fired anyway. Not sure if that helps his case here, but we’re gonna find out.