New York -- A pair of former hosts at QVC network have
filed a $100 million class-action suit in a federal court in Manhattan, claiming the
shopping channel has discriminated against its black and Hispanic hosts.
Victor Velez and Gwen Owens, the two former QVC hosts,
claim in their suit that QVC relegates its black and Hispanic hosts to late-night time
slots that have smaller viewing audiences and consequently lower sales. As a result, black
and Hispanic hosts are paid substantially lower sums than their white counterparts.
Velez, whose contract was not renewed by the network in
December 1997, and Owens, whose contract expired in November, claim in their filing that
QVC has never had a black or Hispanic host for any of its lucrative daytime or primetime
programs in its 12-year history. Although QVC hosts' salaries are not tied directly
to sales, the suit claims that bonuses, raises and contract renewals are closely related
to sales volumes.
Ellen Rubin, a spokeswoman for QVC, said it is company
policy not to discuss pending litigation. She added that the company has been served with
the court papers and they are currently with QVC's outside counsel.