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Meredith Corp. has reached a settlement with a former broadcast executive who company officials say made racist comments and threatened to fire workers if they complained. Kevin O’Brien, former broadcasting president for the Des Moines-based company, was fired Oct. 29 after company officials said he violated equal employment opportunity policies. The company filed a lawsuit on Nov. 12, asking a federal judge to affirm its decision to fire O’Brien. The lawsuit was dismissed May 24, court records show. Meredith accused O’Brien of racial discrimination and sexual harassment, court records show. O’Brien’s attorney, David Casselman, of Tarzana, Calif., said at the time that the company’s disclosure was meant to embarrass his client. O’Brien challenged the accusations and claimed he was fired without cause. Casselman said both sides have agreed not to talk about the settlement. “The parties met with a retired federal judge to mediate the issues, and all claims have been resolved,” Casselman said. Art Slusark, Meredith spokesman, also said the issue was resolved through federal mediation. Records show that an independent investigation found that O’Brien made racist statements, including: “We can’t right all the wrongs of the Civil War; we’ve got to quit hiring all these blacks.” Records also showed that O’Brien “made statements, often in the context of speaking about a minority employee, that employ racial and ethnic stereotypes and denigrate women.” The investigators found that, among other things, O’Brien had urged colleagues not to hire black people and complained that an Atlanta TV station was “too black.” He also threatened to fire workers if they complained to Meredith officials, records show. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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