Dr. Ian Smith Files Lawsuit Accusing “The Doctors” Talk Show of Racial Discrimination and Sexual Harassment

Dr. Ian Smith has filed suit against those involved in his former TV show, “The Doctors.” / Eric Klein

The medical talk show “The Doctors” has been hit with more racism allegations.

On Monday, ex-host Dr. Ian Smith, who is black, filed an unlawful termination complaint against distributor ViacomCBS, production company Stage 29 Productions, Dr. Phil’s son Jay McGraw, who heads the firm, and the show’s executive producer Patty Ciano.

Dr. Smith, who also alleges Ciano sexually harassed him, was hired to co-host the show in 2013 for its sixth season. But the suit claims he wasn’t invited back for the seventh season after he “voiced complaints regarding discrimination which he experienced and observed.”

In the suit, he complained, among other things, that “African-American hosts were on fewer shows than white hosts. African-American hosts were paid less than white hosts. African-American hosts were not in as many integration segments as white hosts. There were not enough African-American producers.”

Ciano approached Dr. Smith in 2020 about becoming the solo host of the show following the killing of George Floyd and civil unrest around the country. “[Dr. Smith] specifically said that there had been racial issues during his first tenure and unfair treatment of African-American hosts. He said that he would return only if that conduct was not going to be repeated,” the suit states.

“[Ciano] assured him that things had changed for the better, the show would be committed to fair treatment and there would not be any discriminatory behavior,” according to the suit.

Dr. Smith returned, but Ciano continued to ignore his concerns about diversity according to the suit. At one point he suggested “several black producers” who could be added to the show, but, according to the suit, Ciano responded by saying: “I don’t think that’s important right now. We have you as the host. That’s what matters. Besides, I really don’t have the budget to hire any more producers.”

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SOURCE: Page Six, Carlos Greer

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