A journalist who was fired from her position as an editor at Time magazine is now suing the publication claiming she was discriminated against because of her gender and age.
Catherine Mayer filed a lawsuit July 24 against her former employer after failing to reach an out-of-court settlement, the UK newspaper The Guardian reported Saturday.
In her suit Mayer claims Time violated anti-discrimination and civil right laws through “a system of male cronyism by which men, especially former war correspondents, were favored over women in recruitment, dismissal and promotion decisions.”
A US-born British citizen from a Jewish-American family, Mayer worked at Time from 2004 until 2015. In her final years she was European editor operating out the magazine’s London offices and it was during that period, she says, that she was subjected to the discrimination. She also claims the way that she was treated caused her to suffer from depression, migraines and insomnia.
Mayer told the Guardian she initially sought a private settlement but resorted to going to court due to approaching legal deadlines would have forced her to drop the case.
“Initially what you want to do is move on with your life,” she told the paper. “The last thing you want is spend a lot of time thinking and worrying and going over all the stuff that has been painful. And as anyone in journalism will know, the other thing you don’t want to do is put yourself out there.”
Mayer worked for eight years at Time before being appointed to the position of Europe regional editor, according to court documents filed in New York, where the magazine has its head offices.
Time’s foreign editor then appointed Matt McAllester, a younger male reporter, to be her deputy, even though she had been promised that she could choose the members of her team and without an open selection process, the suit alleges, according to the report.
Mayer claims that McAllester sought to replace her. Complaints about his activities that she felt were aimed at undermining her authority were ignored, she claims.
McAllester created an uncomfortable work environment at Time’s offices in London, Mayer claims, in which “‘Non-macho’ men and women who did not conform to traditional expectations of gender roles did not fare well. Staff in London quickly concluded that McAllester was trying to oust plaintiff.”
A year after taking the position she was stripped of her responsibilities as Europe editor and eventually gave up her title to McAllester. She was fired in April 2015.
Her dismissal came just as she was publishing a biography of Britain’s Prince Charles and her firing had an negative impact on her reputation and sales, the lawsuit says, “since many assumed Time had terminated her because her research for the book was defective or for other performance-related reasons,” according to the report.
Time magazine did not respond to requests for a response, and McAllester decline to comment, The Guardian said.
Since leaving Time she co-founded the Women’s Equality party, a political organization campaigning for equal rights for women. In addition to the Charles biography, earlier this year Mayer published a non-fiction work “Attack of the 50 ft. women,” which examines gender discrimination.
Mayer’s lawsuit comes as recent attention has focused on gender pay gaps in media after the publication of top earners at the BBC showed an apparent clear bias in favor of men.