Friday, June 21, 2019

Five NY1 anchorwomen sue cable Channel for age and gender discrimination

Five anchorwomen at NY1, one of the country’s most prominent local news channels, sued the network on Wednesday over age and gender discrimination, alleging a systematic effort by managers to force them off the air in favor of younger, less experienced hosts.

The suit, filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan, portrays a newsroom at odds with the friendly image that has made NY1 a beloved institution among New Yorkers. And it publicized tensions that have long afflicted the TV news business, where older women’s careers often fade as male counterparts thrive.

The plaintiffs range in age from 40 to 61 and include Roma Torre, one of the channel’s longest-serving anchors. “We feel we are being railroaded out of the place,” Ms. Torre said in an interview. “Men age on TV with a sense of gravitas, and we as women have an expiration date.”

Ms. Torre, 61, and her co-plaintiffs — Amanda Farinacci, Vivian Lee, Jeanine Ramirez and Kristen Shaughnessy — said the leadership team installed by Charter Communications, the cable giant that acquired NY1 in 2016, reduced their airtime and anchoring slots, excluded them from promotional campaigns and consistently ignored their concerns.

“At some point, we were branded malcontents and told to stop complaining,” said Ms. Torre, who joined the network at its inception in 1992.

A Charter spokeswoman, Maureen Huff, said on Wednesday that more than half of NY1’s on-air talent is female, and that more than half is over 40.

“We take these allegations seriously, and as we complete our thorough review, we have not found any merit to them,” Ms. Huff 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.”

Charter, which is based in Stamford, Conn., has retained the law firm Proskauer Rose to defend against the suit.