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Rudd's strip show visit heads to US court -

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ELEANOR HALL: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's notorious visit to a strip club in New York could soon be
discussed in a US court.

Mr Rudd's night out at the invitation of newspaper editor Col Allan became a tabloid news story
during the last federal election campaign.

Now a former staffer at The New York Post, where the expat Australian Mr Allan is editor, wants to
raise the matter in court.

The former employee says the paper sacked her because she complained about racism and sexism at the
tabloid.

And in documents filed in court, she says there is a culture of discrimination at The Post that
goes all the way to the top.

Shane McLeod has our report.

SHANE MCLEOD: In Australia he earned the nickname Col Pot for his take-no-prisoners approach to
editing Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

But now the newspaper Col Allan edits in the United States, The New York Post, is facing
allegations of racism and sexism in a lawsuit being brought by a disgruntled former employee.

SANDRA GUZMAN (voiceover): Behind the trumpeted headlines and within the four walls of The Post
there exists a hostile work environment where female employees and employees of colour have been
subjected to pervasive and systemic discrimination and/or unlawful harassment based on their
gender, race and/or national origin.

SHANE MCLEOD: That's an excerpt from the complaint filed by Sandra Guzman in the US District Court
in New York.

She was sacked by the newspaper at the end of September and believes she was targeted because she
had spoken out about discrimination at the paper, and because she's black and female.

SANDRA GUZMAN (voiceover): Virtually all the executives, managing directors and news reporters are
white males who wield enormous power and influence at the company.

SHANE MCLEOD: Ms Guzman relates a series of alleged incidents involving executives from the
newspaper making sexist, offensive and racist remarks.

She also tells a story familiar to Australian political watchers where the newspaper's editor Col
Allen took Kevin Rudd on a night on the town.

SANDRA GUZMAN (voiceover): Allan took two Australian political leaders to the strip club Scores
where they watched strippers perform, reportedly had too much to drink and were ejected from the
club by its bouncers.

SHANE MCLEOD: Ms Guzman says the culture of racism and sexism also results in the newspaper
targeting people outside the company through offensive headlines, stories and insulting and
degrading cartoons.

In February this year, police in Connecticut shot dead a pet chimpanzee that had attacked and
nearly killed a woman.

The following day the New York Post published a cartoon depicting a chimpanzee that had been shot
by police.

One of the officers says to the other, "they'll have to find someone else to write the next
stimulus bill".

(Sound of protesters outside The New York Post office: "Shut down The Post!")

SHANE MCLEOD: Protestors gathered outside The Post's headquarters, angry because they believed the
cartoon was a reference to President Barack Obama.

Sandra Guzman says she had complained about the racist overtones and senior editors were aware of
the links, but they published the cartoon anyway.

SANDRA GUZMAN (voiceover): There is no doubt the chimpanzee pictured shot to death and lying in a
pool of blood with three bullet holes was intended to be President Obama.

The decision to publish the racist cartoon was part of a concerted effort to undermine President
Obama's authority and attack the first African-American President.

SHANE MCLEOD: Ms Guzman says she was told by the paper's Washington bureau chief The Post had a
goal of destroying President Obama.

SANDRA GUZMAN (voiceover): "We don't want him to succeed".

SHANE MCLEOD: She says when she became publicly identified as having complained about the cartoon,
she was targeted.

Her claim was filed in court this week.

Ms Guzman says she was told that there weren't enough advertisers for a section she edited that
targeted the Hispanic and black communities.

But, she says, other editors haven't suffered the same consequences of falling advertiser numbers
and three white columnists have recently been employed on salaries of more than $100,000 each.

The Post has responded to her claim. A spokeswoman told The World Today, quote, "This lawsuit has
no merit and is based on charges that are groundless. Ms Guzman's position was eliminated when the
section she edited was discontinued due to a decline in advertising sales."

ELEANOR HALL: Shane McLeod with our report.