New York, NY- A former production assistant for “Ink Master” filed a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit against Spike TV, alleging she was fired for complaining about the lewd comments and touching she endured from two of the show’s celebrity judges.
In her lawsuit, Nicolletta Robinson, 25, named Spike TV, its parent company Viacom and two tattoo artists/judges for the competition show. Robinson alleges Oliver Peck and Chris Nunez, both tattoo artists, subjected her to degrading sexual comments, come-ons and unwanted touching when she worked on the show for a brief period in 2013.
According to the New York Post, Robinson’s primary duty on the show was run errands and drive for Nunez and Peck. The two men specifically asked their assistant be female.
Robinson alleges that Peck would touch her inappropriately while she was driving the two men around. He allegedly “tickled,” “pinched” and “squeezed” her legs and underarms while she was driving the two men around.
Peck asked Robinson if she ever had “anal sex,” and once told her to “go home and suck some dicks,” according to the New York Post.
Nunez once suggested she watch while he had sex with his wife, the lawsuit states.
“From the onset of her employment with Peck and Nunez, both men regularly and repeatedly made inappropriate and offensive sexual comments and degrading remarks about women to Robinson, and to other female employees in her presence,” the suit says. “Robinson was also subjected to non-consensual, unwelcome, and inappropriate touching by Peck, as well as to sexual advances from both men.”
Robinson told her superiors about the men’s inappropriate behavior and instead of disciplining the two men, Spike TV fired Robinson. The lawsuit noted that neither Spike TV nor Viacom had a “mechanism” in place for an employee to file a formal discrimination or harassment complaint.
“It sounds ridiculous,” Peck said of the lawsuit in a phone interview with the New York Daily News. “It sounds preposterous.”
Viacom, Spike TV and Nunez did not respond to requests for a statement.
The lawsuit, filed in a Manhattan Court on Monday, is seeking an unspecified amount for Robinson’s emotional distress and loss of wages.
“We hope that this suit will not just rectify the wrongs of our client, but will also remind other employers to ensure a safe work environment, free of illegal discrimination and harassment,” said Robinson’s attorney Kenneth J Katz, adding the suit should send a message to employers that they “must protect employees from harassment whether they work in an office or on the set of a TV show.”
David Navarro, host of the show was not named in the suit.
Robinson’s experience is not a new; many workers who file formal complaints of sexual harassment are retaliated against. They are either fired or subjected to additional hostility simply for refusing to tolerate inappropriate sexual behavior. A sexual harassment attorney will assure that the rights of employees are respected and they are no longer subjected to harassment and retaliation.