Third Former Employee Sues Daystar

Bedford-based Christian TV network disputes claims

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    Daystar Television Network
    A former producer for Christian TV network Daystar claims in a lawsuit that she was "berated, belittled and harassed" by Joni Lamb, right. Lamb founded the network with her husband, Marcus, left, in 1997.

    A former producer for Christian TV network Daystar claims in a lawsuit that she was "berated, belittled and harassed" and later fired for dating a male co-worker.

    It is the third lawsuit in recent months filed by former employees against the Bedford-based ministry, which has vowed to fight all of them.

    Karen Thompson, the longtime producer of "The Joni Show," filed the claim Monday in federal court in Dallas.

    "The Joni Show" features Joni Lamb, who founded Daystar with her husband, Marcus, in 1997. It has grown into one of the world's largest religious TV networks.

    The suit claimed Joni Lamb told Thompson to end her relationship with the co-worker in January 2010.

    "For approximately two hours, Joni Lamb berated, belittled and harassed" Thompson, the lawsuit said.

    Thompson refused and was demoted, not allowed in the studio and "was told that Joni Lamb did not even want to see her face," the lawsuit said. Thompson was fired in March 2010.

    In a written statement, Daystar said Thompson's claims are without merit and accused her of initiating the relationship with an employee under her supervision who was 15 years younger.

    "She was repeatedly told that the relationship was incompatible with her leadership position at Daystar," the statement said. "Unfortunately, she refused to end this disruptive relationship, becoming increasingly resentful and disruptive over time, leading to her termination."

    In the claim, Thompson accused Daystar of treating male employees differently.

    As examples, the lawsuit said Marcus Lamb was not demoted after he had an "illicit relationship" with a female vice president.

    It also said Joni Lamb's father, Bill Trammell, was not demoted after he "sexually harassed a female employee." That claim is the subject of a separate lawsuit.

    In yet another lawsuit, former Daystar executive Jeanette Hawkins claimed she was pressured to cover up Marcus Lamb's affair and suffered emotionally as a result.

    Marcus Lamb admitted publicly in December that he had had an extramarital affair but also claimed he was the victim of a $7.5 million extortion attempt.

    The lawsuits and countersuits that have followed are difficult to track, but Daystar filed a separate lawsuit accusing the women of extortion -- essentially blackmailing the ministry by threatening to tell reporters about Marcus Lamb's adultery.

    The Dallas attorney who filed all three lawsuits against Daystar, Jim Fisher, declined to comment Monday. But he previously has said that the "extortion" was really his attempt to settle the cases, which he said attorneys do all the time.

    Fisher countered by accusing Daystar of defamation.