BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Former Shea’s president Michael G. Murphy filed a lawsuit Thursday against the theater following the announcement of his dismissal from the role on Oct. 21.

In the lawsuit, Murphy and his attorneys cited “breach of contract, discrimination on the basis of Murphy’s being gay, retaliation on the basis of Murphy’s participation in the protected activity of reporting and opposing discrimination and harassment, violation of New York Labor Law, and defamation” as the reasoning of taking legal action against Shea’s.

Among some of the allegations, the plaintiff cites Shea’s employees referred to Murphy with “dog-whistle terms” and that “Shea’s employees used sexual-orientation-laced terms which not only are derogatory but are discriminatory as a matter of law in New York State.” It also states that despite assurances of support from the Shea’s Board of Trustees, the board “did not stop employees from defaming Murphy.”

Following the news of the lawsuit, the Shea’s Board of Trustees released the following statement:

“This lawsuit is without merit, and it is unfortunate that Mr. Murphy chose this path. This is a desperate effort meant to intimidate Shea’s into an undeserved financial settlement. We intend to vigorously defend Shea’s against that. Due to this now being in litigation, we will have no further comment.”

Shea’s Performing Arts Center Board of Trustees

The full lawsuit can be seen here:

Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.