A California judge has dismissed B. Scott’s discrimination lawsuit against BET, citing the network’s freedom of speech.
Last year, Scott was scheduled to appear on the red carpet as a style correspondent for the 2013 BET Awards, but was asked to switch outfits after the dress Scott wore was deemed “inappropriate.”
Scott penned an open letter about the incident, noting the dress chosen had been agreed upon by BET producers:
I met with a producer of the show the night before and showed her the ensemble. She said it was acceptable and requested I send over a picture so that she could forward it to whomever she needed to. The picture of the complete outfit was sent over and everything was fine. At all points during this process, everything I was going to wear or considering wearing was both discussed and approved. According to BET, everything had to be approved because I was hosting sponsored segments and the sponsors needed to be comfortable.
The morning of the show I arrived on set at 10am for rehearsals. During rehearsals I sent the new outfit over to wardrobe to be steamed. Everybody involved in the process knew what I was wearing and began preparing the pieces accordingly.
…After rushing to make it to the red carpet in time, I was escorted by several members of production down to the stage. Everybody I spoke with commented on how fabulous I looked. There was never any indication that there was an issue. There was no pushback. I was simply there to do my job.
After interviewing AJ Calloway for my first segment I was literally yanked backstage and told that my look from head to toe “wasn’t acceptable.”
Scott’s final look was more “masculine” and consisted of a suit, less obvious makeup, and pulled-back hair. An uproar about BET’s treatment of the blogger quickly swept across the web, and Scott filed a discrimination lawsuit against the network.
Today, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Yvette M. Palazuelos dismissed Scott’s case, ruling the network’s First Amendment rights to freedom of speech gave them the power to dictate how Scott appeared on the show.
Scott’s lawyer, Waukeen McCoy, said the judge’s decision “sends the wrong message to corporate America as to how to deal with people who are transgender.”
Scott called the finding “unfortunate” and will appeal the ruling.
It disheartens me that the message sent today wasn’t a message of acceptance, but rather it’s acceptable to discriminate against transgender individuals on the basis of their gender identity and expression – and that such discriminatory acts are protected under the first amendment.
As my attorney and I seek to appeal the judges decision on the motion to strike in the California Court of Appeal, we’re continuing to fight for the rights of the LGBTQ community and to remind the world that it’s ok to be who you are.