Former CNN reporter sues network after being told she didn’t have the ‘look’ they wanted

Saima Mohsin is seeking justice through an employment tribunal claim in the UK

Kelly Rissman
Monday 10 July 2023 23:27 BST
CNN announces CEO Chris Licht's departure live on-air

Former CNN journalist Saima Mohsin says she is taking the network to court for “unfair dismissal, disability & race discrimination” after being injured on the job.

The British-Pakistani foreign correspondent was injured during a reporting trip in Jerusalem in 2014 when her cameraman drove over her foot. The injury rendered her unable to sit, stand, or walk and prevented her from being able to work full time.

The journalist, who now works as a TV presenter at Sky News, also claimed that she asked the network to switch roles to be a presenter, but was told “you don’t have the look we are looking for.”

CNN terminated her contract three years later. She is seeking justice through an employment tribunal claim in the UK. Her case was set to be heard on Monday in London.

“I worked hard to become an international correspondent and loved my job with CNN,” Mohsin told The Guardian, adding, “I risked my life many times on assignment for CNN believing they would have my back. They did not.”

Regarding the racial discrimination claim, Mohsin alleges she was denied broadcast opportunities, as the network preferred to put white American correspondents on air.

CNN says that the UK doesn’t have jurisdiction over Mohsin’s case.

The journalist argued to The Guardian that her case “should cause concern for all foreign correspondents who travel around the world – and take risks to do their journalism in the belief their employer will take care of them.”

Saima Mohsin now works at Sky News

She continued, “I’m also taking the opportunity to highlight the racism and gender pay gap issues that I experienced. I was repeatedly let down and denied the ability to achieve my potential while I was at CNN. I am bringing my claim to take a stand and call for change to ensure women journalists, and women journalists of colour, are better protected.”

Mohsin’s complaint arrives during a period when the network is already mired in controversy. CNN boss Chris Licht was booted after just 16 months on the job after an explosive expose in The Atlantic. Licht replaced Jeff Zucker after the company president was fired for failing to disclose a relationship with a colleague.

The network also received harsh criticism after hosting a town hall for former President Donald Trump, a decision that Licht oversaw.

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