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Two cameramen who lost their jobs at The Tonight Show in what they claim was a racially motivated decision have filed an updated complaint in their lawsuit against NBC Universal and Ahmir Khalib Thompson (aka Questlove).
Kurt Decker and Michael Cimino allege that they were fired after receiving a racist text message, despite the fact that they never shared it with any other person and reported the offensive material to senior staff.
At the same time, they allege in their amended court filing that a third person who received the text, Tonight Show band member Mark Kelly of The Roots, suffered no repercussions despite the fact that he shared the message with other staff members.
Decker and Cimino claim that the reason for this is because Kelly is black and they are white, and in the new complaint compare their treatment by NBC to how the alleged victims of Tom Brokaw were treated by the network.
Allegations: Kutrt Decker and Michael Cimino submitted an updated complaint in their lawsuit against NBC Universal and Ahmir Khalib Thompson (aka Questlove) (Questlove above last month in NYC)
Claim: 'Questlove unlawfully demanded that NBC terminate Plaintiffs employment because they were Caucasian and received the Text Message,' states the suit (MIchael Cimino above with Fallon in early 2017)
Unfair treatment: A third person who received the text, Tonight Show band member Mark Kelly of The Roots, suffered no repercussions the men allege in their complaint (Kurt Decker above with Fallon)
The incident that led to the firing occurred in June of last year when the plaintiffs and Kelly received a racist text from an individual who is not named in court documents.
Within days the two men were suspended from their jobs they claim and in August found themselves unemployed after NBC terminated them following a seven-week investigation.
Kelly was not investigated by NBC or suspended by the network the men claim in their complaint.
'In reality, the "investigation" was actually motivated by NBC's efforts to placate the members of The Roots, and specifically Questlove, who upon information and belief, found the Text Message so offensive that he pressured NBC to fire all of the Caucasian employees involved in the incident-regardless of the fact that Decker and Cimino were also the victims of this unsolicited Text Message,' reads the amended complaint.
Dacker and Cimino go on to allege in the complaint that Tonight Show employee Mary Beth Scalici acted with 'malice' and in 'bad faith' when she told staff members that Decker and Cimino had 'participated' in the sending and sharing of a racist text.
There was no mention of Kelly's behavior however according to the complaint.
'Kelly did violate NBC's Company Policy by showing the Text Message to other NBC employees,' reads the complaint.
'The real reason Plaintiffs were being terminated was because Defendant Questlove had unlawfully demanded that NBC executives terminate Plaintiffs employment because they were Caucasian and had received the Text Message.'
The filing goes on to state: 'And the reason Kelly was not being terminated - despite the fact that he both received the Text Message and had violated NBC's Company Policy by showing it to other NBC employees -- was because he was African-American and for that reason Defendant Questlove did not also demand his termination.'
No go: Questlove and NBC have both denied the allegations made in the lawsuit
The men also allege that Questlove all but confessed to this when he responded to the lawsuit by tweeting: 'That time I got sued for being offended by racism.'
Later in the complaint, the men claim that NBC did everything in their power to silence them in the wake of the incident.
'That NBC would pressure Scalici to make false and defamatory claims about Plaintiffs in order to cover up its own unlawful discrimination appears to be NBC's modus operandi,' reads the complaint.
'Recently, after sexual harassment allegations surfaced against NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw, numerous women at NBC signed a letter hailing the veteran anchor as "a man of tremendous decency and integrity."'
The complaint then adds: One NBC News staffer stated anonymously through the press, however: "We felt forced to sign the letter supporting Brokaw. We had no choice, particularly the lower level staffers.
;The letter was being handed around the office and the unspoken threat was that if your name was not on it, there would be some repercussions down the road. Execs are watching to see who signed and who didn't. This was all about coming out in force to protect NBC's golden boy; the network's reputation is tied to Brokaw ... If more women come forward, that's a big problem."'
That came from an unnamed source who spoke to page Six in the wake of the letter, which was signed by Rachel Maddow, Andrea Mitchell and Mika Brzezinski among others.
NBC is in the process of getting the case moved out of the court and into arbitration.
Questlove responded to the initial filing back in January by stating: 'Questlove denies the ridiculous allegations made in this lawsuit. Racism is REAL and exists throughout the world, and for these gentlemen to claim victim is not only disrespectful to Questlove and his bandmates, but to all that truly endure racism on a daily basis.'
NBC also released a statement at that time, saying: 'NBC is committed to providing a work environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. We have strong policies in place that protect against discrimination in any form. The decision about these plaintiffs was the company's alone.'