A former accountant for Rachael Ray’s television cooking show has filed a $1 million lawsuit, alleging he was forced out of his job because he has an eating disorder.
Aaron Ferguson said in papers filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan that he has suffered from anorexia for about six years. He claimed his supervisor repeatedly exhibited “hostile behavior” and made “vile,” discriminatory and hurtful comments.
The comments included, “Anorexics are sick in the head,” and, “Anorexics should not be able to work,” his court papers say.
Anorexia is an eating disorder characterized by low body weight that can be attained by voluntary starvation, purging, excessive exercise and other measures.
Ferguson said he began working in July 2007 for CBS Television Distributions Inc., a CBS Corp. unit and the producer and owner of the “Rachael Ray” show. After he complained about his treatment, he says, he was forced out in October 2007.
The lawsuit, filed late Wednesday, names CBS Corp., CBSTD Inc. and three employees of the show as defendants. Ray is not named as a defendant.
Ferguson’s lawyer, William H. Kaiser, said Thursday, that “the things that were said in front of my client were hurtful, and once they knew he had a problem with it they should have stopped.”
Ferguson says he repeatedly complained about his supervisor’s use, in his presence, of discriminatory language regarding anorexics but the supervisor’s superiors did nothing to improve his situation.