Miami Herald columnist Steve Rothaus is reporting that WPLG Channel 10 anchor Charles Perez has filed a discrimination complaint with Miami Dade County's Equal Opportunity Board:
Charles Perez, bumped two weeks ago from WPLG-ABC 10's weeknight anchor seat, has filed a discrimination complaint with Miami-Dade's Equal Opportunity Board. He's too gay, he claims in paperwork delivered to the county on Friday.Perez's complaint and narrative can be seen here.
Things started unraveling professionally for Perez earlier this year after the Herald's Joan Fleischman reported that Perez's former partner claimed that "Perez reached out to [a] therapist 'for counsel with his `gender identity issues.'"
Perez's complaint alleges - among other things - that Channel 10 news director Bill Pohovey told Perez during a "performance review" that he came across on the air as "too soft," didn't sound "main anchor-like" and smiled too much with co-anchor Laurie Jennings. "Like girlfriends."
UPDATE: Channel 10 news director Bill Pohovey responds to Perez's complaint with this statement:
WPLG emphatically denies the claims made by Charles Perez that the Station discriminated against him based on his gender and sexual orientation. His complaint is filled with misstatements and untruths.
The changes he complains about are simply schedule changes and they were not made as a result of the publicity surrounding Charles Perez’s breakup with his partner. In fact, his transition to weekend anchor started months before that publicity. His gender or sexual orientation had nothing to do with the Station’s decisions. Charles has been open about his sexual orientation and it was known to the Station at the time he was hired.
As a result of these changes, Charles now anchors the Saturday and Sunday evening newscasts. The fact that the Sunday 11 pm newscast has the largest audience of any of WPLG’s late newscasts is simply not consistent with Charles’ claim that the Station was uncomfortable with his sexual orientation.
Like most businesses, local television stations have been negatively impacted by this severe recession in the economy. To help offset the sizeable loss in revenue, stations across the country like WPLG have been working to reduce their expenses and their staffing levels. The Station has had to make difficult decisions which have impacted a number of WPLG’s staff, including Mr. Perez.
VP and News Director Bill Pohovey said “This is an outrageous accusation. As a gay man myself, I can safely say the Station does not discriminate against gay people. Charles’ claim that the Station discriminates against gay people is untrue and offensive.”
WPLG has a reputation of being a leader in this community with a very diverse staff. The Station does not discriminate. The Station will bring the facts out in the appropriate legal forum and fully expects to be completely vindicated.