Al Roker is sued for firing producer who complained about DEI policy failures amid claims his new animated show Weather Hunters brought in black writers to touch up scripts written by white staffers

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Shultz, 47, an Emmy winning producer best known for his work on The Simpsons, claimed he was fired for raising DEI shortcomings  
  • The producer said he raised concerns Al Roker’s show Weather Hunters wasn’t meeting its diversity quotas for writing staff 
  • Shultz, who is white, said his lawsuit was particularly ‘surprising’ because the show was intended to be geared towards black audiences  

Al Roker is set to face a lawsuit claiming the famed presenter and his production company fired a producer for complaining about not meeting DEI quotas. 

The longtime weatherman, 69, is accused of ‘wrongfully and illegally’ firing producer Bill Schultz, who is white, after Shultz says he called out alleged racial discrimination on Roker’s children’s show, Weather Hunters. 

Shultz, 47, an Emmy winning producer best known for his work on The Simpsons, said the show failed to follow diversity guidelines, including employing writers of color. 

In his $10 million lawsuit filed this week in New York, Shultz said the issue was ‘surprising’ because Weather Hunters is ‘focused on an African American Family and was inclusively developed for PBS’s importantly diverse children’s audience.’ 

Among the allegations form Shultz, a self-professed proponent of ‘diversity and racial inclusion’, claimed he was fired over allegations that the show would only bring in black writers for minor edits to scripts written by white staffers. 

Al Roker, 69, is facing a lawsuit from a producer on his children’s animated show, Weather Hunters, over claims his company skirted DEI policies 

Longtime producer Bill Schultz, 47, said he was fired from the show he helped create after he raised concerns over a lack of diverse hiring practices on Weather Hunters

Longtime producer Bill Schultz, 47, said he was fired from the show he helped create after he raised concerns over a lack of diverse hiring practices on Weather Hunters 

In Schultz lawsuit, first obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, he said the issue of diversity ‘doomed’ the producer and ‘led to his wrongful termination and the wholesale breach of contract.’ 

He filed the action against Roker’s company, Al Roker Entertainment, and its subsidiary WeatherHunters Inc., whom Shultz had worked for since 2014. 

That year, Shultz claims he ‘conceived, conceptualized, and created the entire business plan’ for the show, which was later picked up for production by PBS. 

‘Mr. Schultz was indispensable in the creation of the Program and worked tirelessly to create a financial plan where one hundred percent of the ownership of the program would be retained under the control and ownership of Al Roker,’ claimed the suit. 

He said that the show introduced new DEI guidelines in 2022 to increase the number of writers of color on the show, which he says he pushed for as the show is geared towards black audiences. 

In his lawsuit, Schultz claims he ‘consistently maintained a vision for staffing and producing the program with a diverse group of creators and artists’, and was happy to see it soon become a contractual obligation. 

However, the longtime producer, who made his name on animation shows also including Ed, Edd and Eddy, and Courage the Cowardly Dog, said the diversity regulations were quickly skirted. 

In scathing language, Shultz’ lawsuit says the show saw staffers of color as ‘a handicap or unwelcome obstacle that could be disregarded if necessary and be evaded or overcome—even if it meant using underhanded and deceptive tactics.’ 

‘Further, management at Al Roker Entertainment did not see the PBS DEI mandate as a requirement,’ the lawsuit read. 

Schultz's allegations center around Roker's animated children's show Weather Hunters, which he notes was 'inclusively developed for PBS¿s importantly diverse children¿s audience'

Schultz’s allegations center around Roker’s animated children’s show Weather Hunters, which he notes was ‘inclusively developed for PBS’s importantly diverse children’s audience’ 

Schultz, best known for his work on The Simpsons, the show saw staffers of color as 'a handicap or unwelcome obstacle that could be disregarded if necessary'

Schultz, best known for his work on The Simpsons, the show saw staffers of color as ‘a handicap or unwelcome obstacle that could be disregarded if necessary’ 

Roker's entertainment company is accused of 'deceptive and cynical tactic to give the false appearance of diversity'

Roker’s entertainment company is accused of ‘deceptive and cynical tactic to give the false appearance of diversity’ 

Shultz also claimed that writers of color were branded inexperienced compared to white writers, and executives felt focusing on diversity took too much time and would upend the shooting schedule. 

Instead, the producer said that they came up with a strategy, which was ‘previously advocated and backed by Al Roker Entertainment management in writing’, to bring in black writers after the scripts were already written by white staffers. 

‘This was a deceptive and cynical tactic to give the false appearance of diversity in writing and show ‘numbers’ supporting diversity while side-stepping the effort to recruit, develop and work with BIPOC writers he wrongly and offensively characterized as less capable,’ the suit read. 

‘Following the implementation of the DEI Policy, Defendants attempted to disregard and minimize it and retaliated against Mr. Schultz when he objected to issues surrounding the conduct of Defendants concerning the DEI Policy and race.’  

Schultz’s firing came in February 2024 for alleged breach of contract, and his lawsuit is seeking a trial and at least $10 million in damages. 

Al Roker Entertainment did not immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted by DailyMail.com.  

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