Last week, the entertainment world was shocked to learn that BET executives Stephen Hill and Zola Mashariki were departing the network.
When Hill and Mashariki exited BET, it seemed that the decision was a mutual agreement between the executives and Viacom; BET’s parent company. However, it appears that something more sinister might have been amiss.
Hill was BET’s President and had been at the network since 1999. He was also the mastermind behind the hit miniseries, The New Edition Story. So why was he let go? Apparently, the decision to oust him was linked to Mashariki, who was on medical leave after a breast cancer diagnosis. Mashariki was the Head of Original Programming and took a leave of absence on February 6th with a tentative return date set for April 11th. A source is now claiming that Hill attempted to access Mashariki’s medical files to validate her diagnosis and, he then discussed her condition in a staff meeting. Word got back to Viacom CEO Bob Bakish made the decision to dismiss him.
If this is true, we’re not certain how Zola Mashariki’s job was lost in this mess. Sources are stating that Mashariki was notified of her termination through a staff memo, “She was receiving calls, and she had no idea what people were talking about because she never accepted any kind of deal nor was she told to leave.” Since Mashariki’s job should be protected by the Family Medical Leave Act and related statutes, Mashariki is now considering suing the network. Variety is reporting that she wrote in an email to her colleagues, “It’s a painful recovery for me. It has also been hard on my children.”
A source at BET is claiming that Mashariki was terminated due to her own performance which has nothing to do with her taking medical leave.
Whatever is happening at BET, it could mean a complete upheaval of some of the network’s best content including Being Mary Jane and the network’s freshman series, The Quad. What do you think went down? Can it be fixed?