Writers Take Shots at ‘SEAL Team’ Staffer Who Sued CBS and Paramount for Alleged White Heterosexual Male Discrimination

 CBS series 'Seal Team'.
CBS series 'Seal Team'.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

A lawsuit filed by SEAL Team script coordinator and freelancer Brian Beneker, who claims he was denied a writing position because he’s a heterosexual white man has attracted criticism from some fellow writers.

The complaint, levied against CBS Studios and its parent company Paramount, alleges that the plaintiff was repeatedly denied a staff writer job after the implementation of an “illegal policy of race and sex balancing” that promoted the hiring of “less qualified applicants who were members of more preferred groups.”

Beneker is represented by America First Legal Foundation, a conservative group founded by Stephen Miller, a policy adviser for former president Donald Trump. The organization has supported similar lawsuits against Morgan Stanley, Starbucks, McDonald’s and other big companies.

Beneker is seeking at least $500,000, as well as a court order making him a full-time producer on the series and barring the further application of “discriminatory hiring practices.”

In his complaint, Beneker, who has worked as a script coordinator for CBS’ SEAL Team since 2017, details times in which he was allegedly passed up for staff writing positions in favor of Black or women candidates, who he claims were less experienced than he was and often had no writing credits.

The lawsuit argues CBS’ hiring practices have “created a situation where heterosexual, white men need ‘extra’ qualifications (including military experience or previous writing credits) to be hired as staff writers when compared to their nonwhite, LGBTQ, or female peers.”

However, several writers took to X to express their frustration with the suit and Beneker’s alleged complaints.

Brandon Margolis, who served as a writer for The Blacklist and S.W.A.T., wrote that he knew nothing about the specifics of Beneker’s situation but nonetheless posted: “My dude, you are not the one who decides how qualified you are ... If you’ve gotten a script and your [showrunner] decided not to staff you, there was a simple reason: it wasn’t good enough.”

Writer-producer-director Jim Fagan also took to X, writing, “The show that knew me, my work ethic, and my creative abilities better than any other show on Earth didn’t want to hire me so now I guess I’ll sue my way into a career.”

Jorge A. Reyes, a writer for Netflix’s Queen of the South was harsher, tweeting, “I worked with this guy in 2000 — I was a writer, he was a script coordinator and a seriously odd duck THEN. He thinks never gotten a staff writer job in 24 years because he’s white?? It’s because he’s weird and the work’s not good.”

Some were more sympathetic, with Brooklyn Nine-Nine screenwriter Van Robichaux taking to X to say that “regardless of your opinion of the individual writer suing CBS/Paramount, I think we should generally normalize writers suing and shame companies violating employment law — not the other way around.”

CBS first announced its DEI goals in May 2020, with targets for scripted television adopted as an initiative for its programming “to more accurately reflect diversity both on-screen and behind-the-camera.”

The goal was to allocate a minimum of 25% of the network’s future development budgets to projects created by people of color. Writers rooms were to be staffed with a minimum of 40% BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) representation,” with a goal to increase that number to 50%.

According to UCLA’s annual diversity report, female writers and writers of color began to approach proportionate representation during the 2021-2023 season. Overall, though, the study concluded that people of color “remain underrepresented on every industry employment front.”