NASCAR is being sued for alleged racial discrimination, according to a complaint filed on Monday.
Terrance Cox III, the CEO of Diversity Motorsports, claims that NASCAR refused to work with him and tried to prevent him from increasing the number of African Americans in the sport.
Cox is seeking $500 million in damages for racial discrimination in a complaint filed Monday.
The complaint also said NASCAR prevented African American comedian Steve Harvey from creating a racing team with Diversity Motorsports. Harvey allegedly wanted to start a team called “Steve Harvey Races 4 Education” in September 2015, but NASCAR wouldn’t sanction it.
Harvey denied that during his radio show on Tuesday. He said Cox approached him about helping to expose underprivileged kids to NASCAR, and he was willing to participate. But, he said he wanted nothing to do with the suit and told Cox not to use his name.
The suit named 19 other defendants including Richard Petty Motorsports, Team Penske, Hendrick Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing.
Cox claims he’s been working to increase the number of African American drivers and racing teams since 2009. He founded Diversity Motorsports to promote that effort.
NASCAR has three national racing series — the Sprint Cup Series, the XFINITY Series and the Camping World Truck Series. The Sprint Cup Series is considered the most prestigious and “viewed as the major league level,” according to NASCAR.
There aren’t any African American drivers in the Sprint Cup Series and there’s only one in the XFINITY Series. No African-American driver has ever participated in the Daytona 500 and only three African American drivers have ever raced in top-tier events.
NASCAR said in a statement that Cox’s suit is an attempt to gain publicity, and that it would pursue action against Cox for defamation.
Racial discrimination can rear its ugly head in many ways. In some cases, employers may fail to hire or promote a person because of the color of their skin. In other scenarios, the discrimination involves unequal compensation and work conditions. Racial discrimination may also be shown by unfair or unequal rules enforced by supervisors, verbal harassment by supervisors or co-workers, or even wrongful termination.