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Former TV Sports Reporter Dee Jackson Settles His Lawsuit Against Channel 41

Courtesy Dee Jackson
Former KSHB sports reporter and anchor Demetrice 'Dee' Jackson sued the station for race discrimination and retaliation.

Former KSHB-TV Channel 41 sports anchor Demetrice “Dee” Jackson has settled his race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against the station.

Jackson’s attorneys said the matter had been “resolved,” but declined further comment.

Jackson, who is no longer employed at the station, confirmed that the case was over and that he was “pleased with the end result.”

“I’m happy it’s been resolved,” Jackson said. “That’s pretty much all I can say off the top of my head without saying too much.”

Kari Wethington, a spokeswoman for KSHB’s parent company, E.W. Scripps Co., confirmed in an email that the matter had been resolved. 

“Scripps is committed to diversity and inclusion in its workplaces,” she said. 

Jacksion's case on Monday was dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning he can’t refile it. Typically cases are dismissed with prejudice after they have been settled out of court.

Jackson said terms of the case’s resolution were confidential, which is typical of out-of-court settlements.

The case was scheduled to go to trial this month and then rescheduled to go to trial in August.

Jackson alleged he was twice passed over for the position of sports director after he was led to believe he would get the job. In September, he amended his lawsuit to include a charge of unlawful retaliation after KSHB told him it wasn’t renewing his contract.

Before joining KSHB in 2013, Jackson had been a TV sports director in Montgomery, Alabama, for 12 years. He said he took the job in Kansas City, where he grew up, after he was led to believe he would eventually become sports director at KSHB.

Instead, he was passed over for the position twice – in part, he alleged, because of his race. Jackson is black.

Jackson told KCUR in September that his experience at KSHB was emblematic of deeper issues at the station.

"When I started in 2013, I was the only black male working at the station in an on-air capacity," he said.

Last June, a jury delivered a mixed verdict in another race discrimination and retaliation suit filed against Channel 41 by former reporter Lisa Benson Cooper. The jury found for the station and Scripps on Cooper’s race discrimination claim but found for Cooper on her retaliation claims. It awarded her $26,000 in actual damages and $175,000 in punitive damages.  

Cooper was a general assignment reporter at the station for 14 years before she was let go in mid-2018. She alleged she was denied promotions and other job opportunities because of her race. After she was fired, she added retaliation claims to her lawsuit.

Following the trial, the judge awarded her an additional $110,000 in lost wagesand her lawyers nearly $692,000 in attorneys' fees.

Benson was represented by the same attorneys – Dennis Egan and Martin M. Meyers – as Jackson.

Jackson, who began teaching a television broadcasting class at Paseo High School while working at KSHB, said he has resumed that job.

“It’s like I never skipped a beat,” he said. “I’m right back in.”

Dan Margolies is a senior reporter and editor at KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies.

Dan Margolies has been a reporter for the Kansas City Business Journal, The Kansas City Star, and KCUR Public Radio. He retired as a reporter in December 2022 after a 37-year journalism career.
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