Lanita Thomas, a former flight attendant on Magic Johnson’s private jet, is suing the NBA legend, claiming he fired her because he wanted a younger woman for the job.
In the lawsuit, filed earlier this week, Lanita Thomas, 45, is also alleging bizarre eating habits by Magic Johnson.
Lanita Thomas, who worked on Magic Johnson’s private plane from 2004, was axed last month – allegedly because she was seven minutes late for work.
She says she earned $75,000 a year and a $25,000 bonus as the only flight attendant aboard Magic Johnson’s jet, and it was part of her job to make sure the plane had newspapers, DVDs and “highly specific in-flight food and beverage choices”, according to ABC News.
Among the required foodstuffs were Red Vine liquorice, which Lanita Thomas was ordered to “regularly squeeze to make sure they were soft”, the suit says.
Lanita Thomas claims she was seven minutes late on the day she was fired, but only because she had been held up at a deli counter making sure she got the “two types of turkey” that Magic Johnson required for his sandwich.
The former flight attendant is seeking unspecified damages in the lawsuit, which charges wrongful termination and failure to provide proper breaks during her workdays.
Magic Johnson, 53, retired for the first time in 1991 after announcing he was HIV positive. He attempted to make two more comebacks to the NBA in 1992 and 1994.
Despite his personal trials, Magic Johnson – enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002 and voted three times the NBA’s most-valuable player – has enjoyed equally astonishing success both on and off the court.
Since his retirement, Magic Johnson has been an advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention and safe sex, as well as an entrepreneur, philanthropist, broadcaster and motivational speaker.
Magic Johnson was a part-owner of the L.A. Lakers for several years, but shifted his focus to a new sport in March, when he was part of the group that purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team for a record $2 billion.
Magic Johnson’s bizarre demands
In her lawsuit Lanita Thomas claims Magic Johnson’s demands ranged from the relatively straightforward to the plain bizarre:
• He had “highly specific in-flight food and beverage choices”
• She had to regularly squeeze his Red Vine liquorice to ensure it was soft
• He liked his sandwiches to contain “two types of specific turkey”
• The plane had to be stocked with newspapers and DVDs
• He also failed to provide meal and rest breaks, pay her overtime, or keep accurate records of the hours she worked