Former NHL player and analyst Jeremy Roenick is reportedly suing NBC for wrongful termination over jokes he made about the idea of having a threesome with his wife and a female coworker at NBC Sports.
Roenick, in the lawsuit filed in New York Supreme Court on Friday, accuses the network of removing him in part because of his support of President Trump and says the network violated a state law prohibiting discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation in his firing, the New York Post reported.
Roenick was suspended by the network indefinitely just before last Christmas, days after he discussed a vacation to Portugal that he took with his wife and then-broadcast colleague Kathryn Tappen.
“I play it off like we’re going to bed together every night, the three of us,” he said on the podcast “Spittin’ Chiclets,” referrring to someone at the resort asking about their situation. “If it really came to fruition, that would really be good, but it’s never going to happen.”
He also said his wife and Tappen looked “f—in’ smokin’” while swimming at the pool, according to Variety. “A– and boobs everywhere. It’s great.”
In February, he was fired despite issuing an apology.
The lawsuit says that while Roenick was fired for his comments about Tappen, the network responded differently after NBC figure skating commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir made a comedy promo for the network’s streaming service that referred to a vulgar term for vagina and other sexual remarks along with footage of Olympic figure skater Bradie Tennell, according to Variety.
Although U.S. Figure Skating said it didn’t “condone” the remarks, NBC Sports spokesman Dan Masonson stressed it was meant to be a comedic sketch.
“In retrospect, this sketch could have been completed with generic footage,” he said in reference to the footage of Tennell, the Post reported.
The suit alleges that when Roenick noted that Weir has used “colorful commentary” about skaters’ body parts while on air, his NBC supervisor Sam Flood said that Weir is “gay and can say whatever.”
“Mr. Roenick is the victim of double standards wrongfully asserted against him,” Scott William Clark, Roenick’s lawyer, told the Post. “A person’s career should not be thrown away by a company as Mr. Roenick’s career was with NBC. We are confident that the evidence that will be brought to light from this lawsuit will reveal the rampant disregard of Mr. Roenick’s rights.”
Roenick claims that when he asked Flood if he could speak at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Flood said, “I’m not saying what you can do. You know who you work for. You work for NBC. That would not look good on your NBC record,” Variety reported.
He also claims in the suit that Tappen told him she wasn’t offended by his remarks but was pressured by NBC and a women’s organization to condemn them, according to the Post.
“While Jeremy and I continue to be good friends, what he said was unacceptable, especially among workplace colleagues. I do not condone his comments,” Tappen said at the time.
The lawsuit says that the network could have taken steps to reprimand him short of termination that “would have allowed NBC to send the message to the community at large that his comments were inappropriate and could not be tolerated while not ruining Roenick’s post-playing career,” the Post reported.
The suit also claims that Roenick has lost other contracts in the wake of his firing.
NBC told The Wrap, “We have not seen the complaint, and we have no comment.”