New Tang Dynasty Airs Story on Phoenix Satellite Harassment
New Tang Dynasty Television recently ran a story on the sexual harassment of unpaid interns at Phoenix Satellite Television. Those B&W clients were harassed repeatedly by their supervisor, Liu Zhengzhu.
The report is here with a translation below:
“Yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a law protecting unpaid interns from harassment at the workplace. This decision is a response to a court ruling in favor of Phoenix Satellite Television in a sexual harassment suit brought last year by an unpaid intern who said she was harassed and groped by her supervisor Liu Zhengzhu. On the same day, two current Phoenix Television employees and one prospective employee brought on a new case against the Phoenix parent company in Hong Kong, its US company, and Liu for sexual harassment and retaliation. There are still ongoing suits against Phoenix in New York and DC District Courts. Today, the attorney representing the plaintiffs accepted a video interview with NTD reporter Yi Yang.
Lynne Bernabei, Partner at Bernabei & Kabat PLLC: “Mr. Liu, Liu Zhengzhu, who was director of these two ofﬁces [NY & DC] had unbridled authority to hire and ﬁre people. He basically preyed upon young women who were either interns applying for jobs, or were currently employed by Phoenix. What he would do is basically tell them in many different ways that it was sex for opportunity… He would basically talk about sex, talk about rape in ways that really frightened the women, he would also touch them in the work place, he would often lure them to his hotel rooms and suggest that they have sex with him and that was important to their getting a job with Phoenix.”
Liu continually harassed young women during his tenure at Phoenix, over a 6-9 year period, until he was ﬁnally terminated in 2012. Initially when the parent company was notiﬁed about Liu’s actions, it did nothing.
Lynne Bernabei, Partner at Bernabei & Kabat PLLC: “The parent company knew. When they were informed of it, this is back in 2009, human resources people said ‘we can’t do anything about it. He’s too powerful.’ And this continued for another 4-5 years after that … From what we know he is very well connected to the CEO. And our understanding is that certainly the CEO and other people in the company are very tied into the Communist Party.”
In 2012, a victim of harassment recorded proof of Liu’s actions and brought it to court. Over 10 current and former employees wrote a letter in support of her and were willing to stand as witnesses. It was only then that Phoenix’s top management met with the victim to resolve the situation. However, they did not terminate Liu and he retaliated against the employees who supported the victim by ﬁring them, curtailing or lessening their assignments.
Lynne Bernabei, Partner at Bernabei & Kabat PLLC: “It’s so bad that the company has actually, which we describe in the recent lawsuit we ﬁled, the company has tolerated and perhaps encouraged physical assault on one of the women in the New York ofﬁce.”
Finally after 11 former, current and prospective employees and interns ﬁled a lawsuit against Phoenix, the company terminated Liu in December 2012. Even after this, Phoenix headquarters assigned a new bureau chief who continued to retaliate against the plaintiffs.
Lynne Bernabei, Partner at Bernabei & Kabat PLLC: “I assume when you talk about this many people in this long pattern that went unremedied, we’d be talking about multiple millions of dollars.”
Liu has received a green card and is now living in Arlington. If the plaintiffs win the case, both Liu and Phoenix would be subject to serious damages.”