Viacom Settles Defamation and Discrimination Lawsuit From Ex-BET Exec

BET Zola Mashariki attends the BET Hosted Reception at Riverhorse - Getty-H 2017
Vivien Killilea/Getty Images

Viacom and BET have reached a settlement with a former executive who had sued the media companies for discrimination and defamation related to her cancer diagnosis. 

Zola Mashariki sued in March, claiming she was terminated while on medical leave for breast cancer treatment and that BET and Viacom questioned her cancer diagnosis, interfered with her short-term disability request and suggested that she was "faking" the illness. She had also alleged that she was subjected to repeated gender discrimination and harassment by then-president of programming Stephen Hill.

Both the network and Hill moved to dismiss Mashariki's suit, but U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez in August allowed some of her claims to proceed. 

The parties on Monday filed a stipulation to dismiss with prejudice the lawsuit. 

BET Networks on Tuesday issued a statement about the settlement: “As head of original programming, Zola Mashariki brought fresh new content and top-notch talent to BET Networks. We thank Ms. Mashariki for her many valuable contributions, and our thoughts are with her and her family as she focuses on her health. The litigation between the parties has been resolved. Neither party will make any further comment on this matter.”