Tennis commentator Doug Adler has filed a wrongful termination suit against ESPN after social media lost its mind over a phrase he used to describe Venus Williams' tactics during an Australian Open match last month.
The former tennis pro said Willaims "put the guerrilla effect on" after she charged the net in one of her plays.
People on Twitter though he said "gorilla effect," and the backlash was so severe that ESPN fired him.
Adler said Tuesday before his lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court:
"I knew I’d been treated badly and unfairly. When I saw what it was doing to my reputation, I knew I’d have to fight for my name.”
His complaint alleges that ESPN took the easy way out "and bowed to the Twitter universe of haters."
Adler didn't know anything was wrong for more than 24 hours after the broadcast, and he called more Australian Open matches before his ESPN bosses replayed the video for him.
They asked him and his partner in the booth if they noticed anything wrong in the video. When they said they didn't, Adler's executive producer told him that the comment had "gone viral."
Adler stood by his use of the phrase "guerrilla effect," saying that reference to warfare are common to athletes. He maintains that the phrase was not racially charged.