Court Rejects Former ‘Friends’ Staffer’s Harassment Complaint

Apr 20, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The California Supreme Court unanimously rejected a former writers assistant’s claim that she was the victim of sexual harassment because of coarse language while working on the sitcom “Friends.”

The 7-0 decision, which upholds a ruling reached by a lower court, was announced Thursday.

Amaani Lyle was fired from the Warner Bros. Television series more than six years ago after just four months on the job. Defendants in the suit, which included Warner Bros. and individual producers on the show, claimed Ms. Lyle was fired because she wasn’t a fast enough typist. Ms. Lyle sued, claiming she was subjected to sexual comments, gestures and situations, which the defendants argued was part of the creative process and well within First Amendment rights.

“The California Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that there was no basis for a harassment claim against the defendants,” Warner Bros. said in a statement after the ruling was made public. “Now we can continue doing what we do best, writing and producing hit television shows with the knowledge that our speech is protected.”

Former “Friends” producers Adam Chase, Greg Malins and Andrew Reich also released a statement.

“We were especially encouraged by the Supreme Court’s staunch support of creative freedoms for writers everywhere,” the producers said in their statement. “We maintain, as we have since day one in this case, that the majority of the allegations the plaintiff made against us are complete and total fabrications. We now look forward to putting this whole matter behind us.”