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Two Real Estate Agents Say Racism Was Part of the Culture at Brokerage

Jarret Willis, a Black real estate agent at a luxury brokerage in the Hamptons, said his co-workers called him Jafar — a comparison to the brown-skinned, villainous sorcerer from “Aladdin.”

Managers routinely lobbed racial epithets around the office, according to a lawsuit filed on Tuesday in New York State Supreme Court by Harlan Goldberg, who is white and who worked with Mr. Willis at the brokerage.

Mr. Goldberg is suing their former brokerage, Bespoke Real Estate, for wrongful termination, unpaid commission and punitive damages. He claims he was fired in part for his objections to Mr. Willis’s treatment by the co-founders of the company, the brothers Cody and Zachary Vichinsky. His lawsuit follows complaints that Mr. Willis filed in February with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and New York State Division of Human Rights. Mr. Goldberg and Mr. Willis plan to jointly file a separate suit that will focus more on the claims of discrimination, according to their lawyer, Adam Leitman Bailey.

“Bespoke categorically denies the allegations and looks forward to vindicating its position in court,” Marc A. Sittenreich, a lawyer representing the firm, said in a statement.

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A copy of our lawsuit can be filed found here.

Here are some the discriminatory acts by Bespoke employees in writing.

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