Wrongful termination. Gender discrimination. Age discrimination. All are themes of The Muppets heading to the courtroom, not for a new film from Disney, but to defend themselves in an employment lawsuit recently filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. Cecilia Hyoun was a seasoned assistant film editor hired to work on a new Muppets movie slated to complete production in 2011.
Hyoun turned down other work because she was promised that her position on the Muppets crew would continue through the duration of the project, but she was fired and replaced by a male employee with much less experience than she had. Hyoun claims that her wrongful termination was because she is “an Asian woman over age 40.”
Throughout production Hyoun claims in court documents that she was harassed by Muppets editor James Thomas and told she needed to choose between being a mother and wife or having a career in the postproduction film industry.
Being let go from the Muppets has been a turning point in Hyoun’s career. She has not received full time work since, despite over 16 years of experience, and reports receiving far fewer calls about job opportunities. Hyoun’s lawyer noted that her client was fearful of pursuing legal action against the studio, knowing full well that it may lead to her being passed over for future opportunities.
This was not Hyoun’s first time working with Thomas. Both share credits for Hot Tub Time Machine.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “Disney Sued for Harassment by ‘Muppets’ Editor,” June 5, 2013