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Universal Accused of Racial Discrimination

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May 18, 2006 | 6:40am EDT

Hollywood studio Universal Pictures have been accused of firing assistant director Frank Davis from the 2003 racing movie 2 Fast 2 Furious because he was African-American.

America's Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) has accused Universal of violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by sacking Davis from the movie and replacing him with a Caucasian man.

According to the complaint, the film's director, John Singleton--who is also black--was opposed to the studio's decision, but producers outranked him.

In a deposition, Singleton said, "He (Ron Lynch, the physical production head) called me out of the blue and said, 'Hey, you know, I have a problem with your AD.' He couldn't give me a reason. I made it perfectly clear that he should not be fired; that I was not condoning him being fired; that I was not firing him."

Davis, 47, says that since filing the suit, he hasn't been able to find work in Hollywood, despite a 12-year career prior to 2 Fast 2 Furious.

He says, "I feel like my career has been stripped down. I just feel like I should be able to work in an industry I love and spent my life working in."

Universal insists Davis was fired because of his standard of work, saying, "Multiple witnesses have testified that Mr. Davis was replaced on 2 Fast 2 Furious solely for his inadequate performance as first assistant director."

The $8 million suit will go to trial in Los Angeles on June 27.

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