Blazing Saddles and Title VII

January 22nd, 2012

From an opinion by Judge Sykes, finding that watching the classic Mel Brooks movie, Blazing Saddles, is not prohibited conduct under Title VII:

Harris’s proffered circumstantial evidence consists of (1) racially charged workplace behavior; and (2) better

treatment for similarly situated white probationary depu- ties.1 In the first category are the nicknames and the workplace exposure to excerpts from Blazing Saddles. The argument about Blazing Saddles is hard to take seriously. The 1974 Mel Brooks comedy was nominated for three Academy Awards and satirizes an array of racial, ethnic, and social stereotypes. See WIKIPEDIA, http:// (last visited Jan. 5, 2012). The movie makes racism ridiculous, not acceptable, as Harris seems to contend. The nicknames are somewhat more compelling evidence of workplace racial bias. But there is no evidence that Heilman, Weinzapfel, or any others in the decision-making chain used the nicknames—or for that matter had anything to do with the viewing of film clips from Blazing Saddles.