Steve Harvey Speaks Out Against NASCAR Lawsuit for Racial Discrimination
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UPDATED: Dec 6, 2016
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Steve Harvey wants the world to know that he does not support the recently filed $500 million federal lawsuit filed against NASCAR that claims the organization discriminates against black-owned teams and drivers, even though his name appears in the suit.
Diversity Motorsports and its CEO, Terrance Cox, filed the lawsuit against NASCAR, its parent company, International Speedway Corp, and 18 teams in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. The suit accuses NASCAR of racial discrimination, preventing black-owned teams and drivers from competing in events including the Sprint Cup Series.
The lawsuit claims that NASCAR refused to let them field a team or join its Drive for Diversity program and told them to cease contact. The lawsuit claims that “Motorsports remain the most racially segregated sport in the United States… NASCAR and ISC have been complicit in, and supportive of, the racially discriminatory environment that virtually excludes African-Americans from meaningful participation.”
The lawsuit further alleges that NASCAR advised actor and comedian Steve Harvey “that it would not sanction any race team associated with Cox and Diversity Motorsports” and that “Cox and Diversity Motorsports were wrongfully denied the opportunity” to create a NASCAR team.
The suit seeks $75 million in compensatory damages and $425 million in punitive damages. The suit also seeks injunctive relief, requiring the defendants to “fully integrate the African-American community.”
NASCAR has responded that the lawsuit is without merit, stating,
NASCAR embraces all individuals interested and involved in our sport, whether as partners, fans, competitors or employees, and there is no merit to this lawsuit. NASCAR has a long-standing history of investing in diversity efforts including the NASCAR Drive for Diversity, NASCAR Diversity Internship and NASCAR Diversity Pit Crew Development programs. We established these programs to create opportunities for women and minorities, and embrace people of all backgrounds, within the industry. Diversity both on and off the track continues to be a top priority for NASCAR and its stakeholders. We stand behind our actions, and will not let a publicity-seeking legal action deter us from our mission. NASCAR not only will defend our organization against these meritless allegations, but we will be asserting our own claims against Mr. Cox for his defamatory actions.
Steve Harvey’s Response
Comedian and actor Steve Harvey responded to the lawsuit publicly on his nationally syndicated radio show. He stated, “You are not going to do is drag me into the mud with NASCAR… I have no problem with NASCAR. Ain’t never had a problem.” Harvey also read a letter that he sent last year to Terrance Cox, requesting that his name not appear in any litigation. In his letter, Harvey wrote, “While we can support your educational training efforts for underprivileged youth, it is not in our best interests to be part of any settlement or lawsuit of any kind.”