Former Fox Sports Southwest announcer Craig James has filed a lawsuit against Fox Sports (and other Fox-related entities) based on the claim that he is the victim of religious discrimination.
Variety notes that James, a self-described Christian, was terminated in 2013 by Fox Sports Southwest two days following his hiring, after it was revealed that he made some anti-gay statements during a 2012 U.S. Senatorial debate in Texas (video below):
I think right now, this country, our moral fiber is sliding down a slope that is going to be hard to stop if we don’t stand up with leaders who don’t go ride in gay parades. I can assure you I will never ride in a gay parade.
And I hear what you're saying Tom (Leppert), but leaders, our kids out there, people need to see examples. Now, I'm a guy that believes in a man and a woman being the greatest governance occurring in a home at night, between a husband and a wife, Adam and Eve, and what the Bible says.
James also claimed that it was a choice to be gay, homosexuals would have to answer to God and same-sex couples in civil unions should not receive benefits.
In his closing statement (video below), James said he would "honor the Ten Commandments because God has blessed this great country."
Fox Sports Southwest Senior Vice President of Communications Lou D’Ermilio stated at the time: “We just asked ourselves how Craig’s statements would play in our human resources department. He couldn’t say those things here.”
James' lawsuit, which was filed by the Christian-based Liberty Institute, states in part:
Fox Sports fired Craig James because of his religious beliefs about marriage and his expression of those beliefs during a debate when James ran in the Texas Republican primary for United States Senator.
In response to the lawsuit, Scott Grogin, senior vice president of communications for Fox Networks Group, told The Dallas Morning News this week:
As we have previously stated, Craig James is a polarizing figure in the college sports community and the decision not to use him in our college football coverage was based on the perception that he abused a previous on-air position to further a personal agenda.
The decision had nothing to do with Mr. James’ religious beliefs and we did not discriminate against Mr. James in any way. The allegations are baseless and we will vigorously defend ourselves against them.