For Release: June 18, 2008
Contact: David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11
or [email protected]
Black Conservatives Speak Out on Race, Sex Discrimination Lawsuit Filed Against NASCAR
Project 21 Chairman Asks Race Officials to Conduct Thorough Investigation and Act Decisively If Allegations are True
Washington, D.C. - NASCAR is being sued for $225 million by a black female former employee who says she was the victim of sexual harassment and racial and gender discrimination while serving as a technical inspector for the sport. Two NASCAR officials are now on indefinite suspension for their reported ties to the charges made in the lawsuit.
Project 21, the black leadership network, has supported NASCAR in the past against allegations that a lack of black drivers constituted evidence of racial bias within the sport. At this time, Project 21 chairman Mychal Massie is asking NASCAR officials to embark upon a timely and thorough investigation of the charges made in the lawsuit and be ready to take decisive action if they are proven to be true.
"There is too much at stake to do nothing," said Massie. "If the accusations are found to be true on any level, we would expect NASCAR to exact the proper resolution. If they are found to be false and initiated out of a personal vendetta to use resentment for personal gain, that too must be dealt with quickly and in a way that discourages it from happening again and falsely slandering the sport."
Mauricia Grant, a technical inspector for NASCAR's Nationwide Series between January 2005 and October 2007, alleges 23 specific incidents of sexual harassment and 34 specific incidents of racial and gender discrimination in her lawsuit. Grant's complaint, which names the two suspended officials (Tim Knox and Bud Moore), includes charges they made racist comments to her and in her presence as well as exposed themselves to her and made other sexual advances.
Grant was fired by NASCAR. She claims her termination was retaliation for complaining about Knox and Moore to Nationwide Series Director Joe Balash.
In an interview with the Associated Press, NASCAR Chairman Brian France criticized Grant for not bringing her complaint to the human relations staff: "We would have investigated two years ago if she had said anything. But it just defies the imagination that she would have sat in multiple training sessions, in diversity training, would have gone through performance reviews... It just defies logic that she had all these opportunities and never made a formal complaint."
Following the complaint, two of Grant's White male co-workers were placed on indefinite administrative leave. While this shows that NASCAR is taking the matter seriously, Massie warns that NASCAR should not fall victim to race baiters who only seek monetary gain."In light of the past racial allegations made against NASCAR, it is in the best interests of everyone - the accuser and the accused as well as the drivers, fans and sponsors - to find out what happened and act quickly. If we don't clear the air soon, we're going to be choking on more than exhaust," said Project 21's Massie.
Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or [email protected], or visit Project 21's website at www.project21.org/P21Index.html.