Life with Gracie: Lawsuits accuse CNN of racial discrimination
This month would have marked Omar Butcher’s seventh year at CNN, but instead of celebrating, he hopes he’ll soon be vindicated for speaking out against what he considers the network’s discriminatory practices.
He recently shared his story for the first time since filing suit against the network last October.
Butcher, 37, dreamed of becoming a journalist from the moment he saw Ed Bradley on “60 Minutes.” He wanted to use his voice to expose the good and bad in our society. He hoped to work one day at the New York Times or CNN, which in his mind were the pantheons of journalism.
Butcher, whose father was in the Army, grew up in Italy and Germany. After high school, he enrolled at Florida State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mass media studies in 2008.
When he was selected to intern at CNN, the entire Butcher clan celebrated.
“I’d made it,” Butcher said in an email interview.
Two years later, the network hired him full time as a video journalist.
“I praised God in my sister’s living room all by myself,” he remembered. “Just me and Jesus. I was pumped to get started.”
Butcher set his sights on becoming a writer. When positions were posted on the company website, he eagerly applied. But without even knowing interviews had been conducted, Butcher said he’d get a mass email from his manager congratulating the new newsroom writer.
“I was crushed,” he said. “I was expecting an interview, a writer’s test and then a promotion. Instead, I was overlooked, forgotten. I felt something was not right.”