William Kane worked in tech for CNN from 2002 to 2013 and was known for his ostentatious sense of style: hot pink designer shirts, bright red track jacket, neon green soccer jersey, yellow track suit with matching shoes and hat, even custom-made mariachi suits. His attire never caused any problems, and in fact was well received by several guests on the station. Fareed Zakaria called his mariachi suit "incredible," Christiane Amanpour tweeted out a picture of herself standing with William in one of his outfits, and anchor Erin Burnett even called him the "best-dressed man" on her show.
When Kane's supervisor, John Silva, learned that Kane was gay the workplace allegedly turned hostile. In Kane's lawsuit, Silva is alleged to have said that Kane's outfits had to go “because [they were] too flamboyant for a male in our department,” and that Kane might be better suited in the “entertainment or makeup department,” which Kane interpreted as Silva stereotyping him as a gay man.
Kane was once offered $100 to go buy a different outfit from TJ Maxx and was told that his light blue tracksuit was distracting host Piers Morgan. Morgan denies having ever complained and instead said, "I love your track suits. … I want Billy (Kane) to wear the brightest-colored clothing when working on my show."
Kane was fired last June and says he filed the lawsuit after receiving a "right to sue" letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Kane fears that he will never be able to work in TV again, blackballed and typecast as the "track suit guy" or the "gay guy."
“I feel like the Rosa Parks of CNN. Maybe someone else won’t have to suffer the way I have,”
A CNN rep said they had not yet seen the lawsuit, but noted that Kane's original claim with the EEOC was dismissed with no violations found.