Five female news anchors sued Charter Communications Inc., claiming rampant age and gender discrimination at the company’s popular New York One news channel has rendered their decades of experience meaningless.
“NY1 has blatantly marginalized them and cast them aside in favor of younger women and men, in a transparent effort to reshape the appearance of the on-air talent,” their lawyer, Douglas Wigdor, said in the complaint.
The suit was filed Wednesday in Manhattan federal court by Roma Torre, Kristen Shaughnessy, Jeanine Ramirez, Vivian Lee and Amanda Farinacci, who claim their careers began to wilt after NY1 was taken over by Charter in 2016.
Charter does business as Spectrum and is the second-biggest cable company in the U.S.
Discrimination against older female journalists is a problem throughout the industry, according to the women.
“We take these allegations seriously and as we complete our thorough review we have not found any merit to them,” Maureen Huff, a Charter spokeswoman, said in a statement. “NY1 is a respectful and fair workplace and we’re committed to providing a work environment in which all our employees are valued and empowered.”
Wigdor said Charter’s own website highlights gender discrimination because it shows that only two women are among the 19 people considered to be “company leadership,” while its 14-member board has only one woman. The top three leaders in the news department are also all men, he said.
The women were paid less than men who performed the same or similar work, Wigdor said. The complaint also includes images of younger women who the plaintiffs claim have been given higher-profile anchoring slots at their expense.
An open letter posted online by the journalists Wednesday said they sued as a last resort after their complaints were ignored. The women, who range in age from 40 to 61, say they’re also fighting for the next generation of female journalists who will one day reach “a certain age.”
“We should be long past the double-standard that allows men to age with gravitas while women are saddled with an expiration date,” they said in the letter. “We call out all newsrooms nationwide to look in their collective mirror.”
The case is Torre v. Charter Communications Inc., 1:19-cv-05708, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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