Former L.A. Times Columnist T.J. Simers Told to Go Easy on Frank McCourt, Sues Paper

After a contentious departure from the LA Times, current Orange County Register sports columnist T.J. Simer is suing the Time for discrimination and wrongful termination.

Courthouse News Service was the first to report about the lawsuit.

Simers contends that a visit by former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt to the Times resulted in an edict noting to go easy on McCourt. According to his first column at the OC Register:

A few years back the Times directed its columnists to tone down criticism of McCourt, the publisher’s pal. They asked me to tone down criticism of Moreno recently; I guess it didn’t look good with all the advertising the Angels were doing on the Times’ website. I have no idea who influences news coverage in the rest of the paper.

It should be noted that no one at LAist, Gothamist or any affiliated -Ist sites ever told me to go easy on anyone much less that carpetbagger Frank McCourt.

The heart of the lawsuit, excerpting from Courthouse News Service:

Simers says things took a turn for the worse when he told his bosses about his migraine diagnosis in March this year.

Duvoisin reduced Simers' weekly columns from three to one and expressed "serious concerns and criticism" about an article Simers wrote about the Anaheim Angels and their owner Arte Moreno, the complaint states. It notes that the Angels buy ad space on the Times website.

Simers claims his column was put on hold in June while he took time off to recover from his condition.

Things came to a head, Simers says, when he appeared in video with his daughter shooting hoops with Los Angeles Laker Dwight Howard - uploaded by a company called Mandalay Sports Entertainment.

It was for that video the Times claimed a violation of company ethics before silencing him for months.

This could get very ugly.