Canned 'Divorce Court' Judge Cries Racism

4/8/2006 2:01 PM PDT

Canned 'Divorce Court' Judge Cries Racism

Mablean Ephriam, who until recently presided over the syndicated television show 'Divorce Court," says that she was given her walking papers from the show, in part because FOX would not cut her slack when it came to styling her hair. "...When will FOX and the rest of America accept our cultural differences as African Americans and embrace us with all of our different hairstyles, hair textures, hair color..." she said in a "press conference statement."

FOX gave Mablean the boot after seven years because they say Mablean was asking for a lot more money than the network was willing to shell out. TMZ is told two million a year was not enough for Mablean, so FOX said farewell.

Mablean's statement veers away from salary and onto hairier issues. She says "the most unacceptable demand to me was when FOX said, 'There will be no changes in the current hairstyle to avoid time consuming issues regarding her hair." She believes FOX's position could violate Federal law, calling it "a racial and ethnic issue."

FOX gave Mablean the boot after seven years because they say Mablean was asking for a lot more money than the network was willing to shell out. TMZ is told two million a year was not enough for Mablean, so FOX said farewell.

Mablean's statement veers away from salary and onto hairier issues. She says "the most unacceptable demand to me was when FOX said, 'There will be no changes in the current hairstyle to avoid time consuming issues regarding her hair." She believes FOX's position could violate Federal law, calling it "a racial and ethnic issue."

Mablean rhetorically asks why he hair was suddenly an issue: "Because of my ethnicity - African American, Black, Negro, whatever term you prefer to use."'

Mablean adds that she wore a wig last season after losing a substantial amount of hair because of a chemical process gone bad. She feels that FOX wanted her to continue wearing a wig to save time in taping the show.

The former TV judge said there was another issue -- she did not want to tape as many as eight cases a day because "divorce is a very emotional issue." She was also upset that FOX would no longer pay for the show's holiday luncheon .

Finally, Mablean suggests FOX went after her personal assistant Princess and her daughter Darlene Allen (who ran the wardrobe department) by also firing them.

Mablean is being replaced by Lynn Toler, an ex-Ohio judge. Toler is also African American.

'Divorce Court' is produced by Twentieth Television, a division of FOX Entertainment Group. TMZ is awaiting an official response from Twentieth.

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Judge Mablean Ephriam