Contending that his freedom of speech was violated and reputation damaged, a former student ousted last year by Occidental College as co-host of a “shock jock"-style campus radio show sued his alma mater Tuesday for more than $10 million.
Jason Antebi’s suit says that the Los Angeles college had no basis for removing him from the “Rant and Rave” show on campus station KOXY-FM (104.7). It also maintains that Occidental officials wrongly found him guilty in a campus disciplinary proceeding of sexual harassment for comments he made on the show.
Antebi’s firing became a celebrated cause among some advocates for campus free speech. The Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education filed a protest with the college on behalf of Antebi and the ACLU of Southern California also urged Occidental to reverse itself. Despite the campus disciplinary proceedings, Antebi graduated from Occidental in May.
The suit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court also accuses college officials of defaming Antebi. It says college administrators depicted him as “a racist, criminal, drug pusher, advocate of violence, unethical student representative, and as a person responsible for an atmosphere of terror on campus” against women.
Occidental officials said Tuesday that they would not comment on the case because they had not seen the suit. They also have said they could not discuss the disciplinary action.
In a recording of the controversial radio broadcast obtained by The Times, Antebi urged listeners to call in with their “rape victim stories.” He also said the staffers of the campus weekly newspaper were “stupid retards.” In his suit, Antebi characterized the show as political parody that “was intentionally obnoxious in its mocking of everyone, including Mormons, Christians, Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Democrats, Republicans, men, women, children, short, tall, fat and skinny.”
In a statement, Antebi’s Beverly Hills lawyers -- Richard L. Sherman and Craig J. Englander -- said the case is “about a private college considering its own philosophies and agenda more important than its students’ rights to free speech and freedom of expression.”