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Former Indiana newspaper editor claims ‘reverse race discrimination’ at Gannett

Former newspaper editor sues Gannett for ‘reverse race discrimination’

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A former newspaper editor in Indiana is suing Gannett over what the suit calls the company’s “Reverse Race Discrimination” policy.

Stephen Crane is one of five current and former Gannett employees who filed the federal lawsuit on Aug. 18 in U.S. District Court in Eastern Virginia.

Crane served as editor of the Bloomington Herald-Times for Gannett from May 2020 until he resigned one year later. 

He also worked as editor for the Martinsville Reporter-Times and Mooresville Decatur-Times.

The lawsuit claims Gannett had a company-wide policy to have its workforce demographics match the racial demographics of the communities it covers by 2025.

“Gannett’s commitment is simple, to hire and promote a certain percentage of individuals on the basis of their skin color and without regard to the relevant applicant pool,” the lawsuit claims.

Crane argues in the suit that his job was “specifically targeted by Gannett with their Reverse Race Discrimination Policy.”

Crane alleges he was forced to rescind a job offer to a white male candidate, and that he faced retaliation when he voiced opposition to the policy.

The lawsuit cites the U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this summer effectively eliminating affirmative action consideration in college admissions. 

“Eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College.

The suit asks the judge to force Gannett to eliminate the policy and give workers back pay and damages.

Gannett owns The Indianapolis Star, USA Today, and hundreds of newspapers around the country. 

“Gannett always seeks to recruit and retain the most qualified individuals for all roles within the company,” Polly Grunfeld Sack, chief legal counsel for Gannett, told News 8 in a statement. “We will vigorously defend our practice of ensuring equal opportunities for all our valued employees against this meritless lawsuit.”