E! is having such a rough time lately, they may just remove the exclamation point.
According to the New York Times, E! freelance producer Aileen Gram-Moreno filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming she was unfairly terminated (and replaced by a male producer who was given a higher title).
Gram-Moreno had been with E! since 1990 and had worked part-time on its red carpet shows for the past 12 years. She said her firing was specifically tied to her allowing Eva Longoria's anti-E! clip to air during the Golden Globes 2018 coverage.
As the NY Times explained, interviews often happen simultaneously on the red carpet, and E! can't air all of them live, so some interviews are recorded and then run a bit later. After Debra Messing called out E! in support of former E! News host Catt Sadler, E! execs were apparently concerned about more red carpet call-outs.
Gram-Moreno's filing claims that she was then directed to review more interviews before airing. "They said, if there's any mention of Catt in the preshow, make sure you flag it," she told the NY Times. "You're censoring celebrities; it's just not a good idea in my humble opinion. But it wasn't my decision."
She said there were so many prerecorded interviews that it was close to impossible to fully vet everyone, and she didn't get a chance to listen to all of the clip of Eva Longoria's interview alongside Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. Gram-Moreno said the decision to air the clip had already been made before she heard what Longoria said about Catt Sadler.
In her interview with Ryan Seacrest, Longoria had said, "We support gender equity and equal pay, and we hope that E! follows that lead with Catt as well. We stand with you, Catt."
Gram-Moreno knew that kind of thing wasn't supposed to air, so -- once she realized what happened -- she texted an apology to her executive producer, who replied that it probably couldn't have been avoided. However, five days later, she got a call from an EP who said she was fired from all of her upcoming red carpet gigs, including the SAG Awards, the Grammys, and the Oscars. She said the EP told her it was because she let the Catt Sadler mention go through.
E! Entertainment president Adam Stotsky told the New York Times there was no effort to censor celebs, and if there had been, the clips of Debra Messing, Sarah Jessica Parker, and others wouldn't have been broadcast. He admitted that they did want to know ahead of time about any other mentions of Catt Sadler. "We don't agree with Debra Messing's assertion. We're not in the business of being a megaphone for an inaccurate story." (Doesn't that suggest he was interested in blocking their opinions from air?)
Stotsky told the NY Times there was no increase in the number of prerecorded interviews. He said Gram-Moreno's job was to "screen all of the assets completely and obviously she failed to do that." He said she was not invited back for more red carpet coverage after a "pattern of poor performance," saying the Golden Globes incident was just the final straw.
Gram-Moreno's lawyer said there had never been any complaints about her performance after 12 years of E! red carpet coverage, and she was given a performance-based raise five years ago.
Meanwhile, E! is still chugging along with Ryan Seacrest as host of red carpet coverage, despite the allegations against him by his former stylist. It remains to be seen if fewer major stars talk to him on the red carpet, and if any criticism of E! actually makes it to air.
The Oscars air Sunday, March 4 on ABC, with preshow coverage on E! all day long.
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