Monday, August 10, 2009

Channel 10 News Director responds to Random Pixels

UPDATED below....

Channel 10 news director Bill Pohovey responds to my recent post suggesting that he and former anchor Charles Perez iron out their differences over a beer...or two.
Dear Bill,

Thank you for your email concerning Charles Perez.

I’m always anxious to attend a beer summit.

I can promise you that no discrimination took place at WPLG. While we can't go into great detail about the events surrounding Charles' departure, I do want to share the statement we released to the newspaper. Only a portion of the statement was printed, so I want to make sure you have the entire thing.

WPLG is a leader in this community with proud history and a diverse work force.


Bill Pohovey
Channel 10's Statement

WPLG is disappointed that the actions of Charles Perez left us no real choice other than to terminate his employment contract.

WPLG emphatically denies Perez’ claim of discrimination. The document he is circulating is filled with misstatements and untruths.

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. In my view, Mr. Perez continued to make false and outrageous accusations in an effort to force the station to give him back his former work schedule. Like all businesses, we do not respond to intimidation and threats from employees. His false claims should offend all people-- including those of us in the gay community. It appears he is bent on waging a public relations campaign to destroy the hard earned and long standing reputation of the station as a community leader and an employer of a diverse and inclusive workforce. ”

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 was moved to 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.

The Station will bring the facts out in the appropriate legal forum and fully expects to be completely vindicated.

UPDATE: Charles Perez goes national with a column on The Daily Beast with the provocative title, "Why I Committed Career Suicide.
"I’ll probably never work in the news business again. Honestly, who’s going to hire a newsman, as good as he may be, who litigates against his employer? It’s not exactly a career builder."
Something tells me that all the beer in the world won't solve this problem.

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