Former deputy editorial page editor Pati Poblete, who is of Filipino ancestry, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court last week against Gannett Publishing LLC, alleging that Advertiser Editorial and Opinion Page Editor Jeanne Mariani-Belding discriminated against her soon after she was hired as deputy editorial page editor from September 2006, until she resigned in November 2007.
It's important to note that Mariani-Belding is also Asian American, and is actually national president of the Asian American Journalists Association, whose mission includes promoting fair and accurate coverage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Acccording to Poblete's lawsuit, Mariani-Belding's actions did not quite live up to the standards you'd expect from an AAJA president:
In the suit, Poblete said she left the San Francisco Chronicle to join the Advertiser and was immediately forced by Mariani-Belding to keep progress logs on a co-worker of Filipino ancestry, Emil Guillermo, in an apparent effort to force him out.That's racist! Talk about a hostile work environment. More than anything, news like this, about fighting and potential discrimination between Asian American professionals, just makes me sad. Okay, I don't know what really happened here, but considering the players, you know something has gone terribly wrong when it comes down to a lawsuit like this. More here: Former employee sues Advertiser.
Guillermo, who, according to the suit, was regularly humiliated by Mariani-Belding in editorial board meetings, accepted a buyout in April 2007. Guillermo said yesterday he wanted to review the allegations before deciding whether to comment on the matter.
Mariani-Belding's racial attacks turned to Poblete after she protested how her boss had treated Guillermo, according to the suit.
Mariani-Belding allegedly aked Poblete, "Are you just trying to protect him because he's Filipino?"
The suit says that in another instance, Mariani-Belding, while looking at a photograph of roasted dogs in a Vietnamese market, told Poblete and her Filipino fiance, "Oh, you guys would know about eating dogs."
In staff discussions, she also allegedly asserted that Honolulu Councilman Nestor Garcia has "a brain the size of a pea" and that state Rep. Rida Cabanilla-Arakawa, also of Filipino ancestry, is "dumber than a doorknob."