Five veteran air personalities at NY1 are taking their employer to court. The suit filed this week in Manhattan federal court alleges the women, who range in age from 40 to 61, saw their careers marginalized since Charter Communications took over in 2006.
- Roma Torre is a charter member of NY1 since its debut in 1992. The suit claims she lost four hours per day to a younger woman or man.
- Kristen Shaughnessy (left) is at the cable news channel for 25 years, anchoring since 1995 but taken off the main rotation of shows. Typical she’s a fill-in for perennial morning show Pat Kiernan, or anchoring on the weekends. That is usually in reverse–getting experience to start out as a back-up or on weekends, but not with years in the business, let alone at the same station.
- Vivian Lee is with NY1 since 2008. The former WNBC reporter claims she was dropped from an anchor position this year.
- Jeanine Ramirez is at the station for 23 years as a reporter. However, after complaining about discrimination, the suit alleges she was yanked from morning show fill-in duty.
- Amanda Farinacci, the Staten Island reporter.
The civil suit claims the talent collectively has logged more than 100 years at NY1.
A spokesperson for Charter says 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.”
Kiernan touched on the lawsuit during his In the Papers segment, although he declined to the specific bombshell allegations.
What the face of NY1 did tell viewers was: “I want to be even-handed with this, so I’m not going to summarize their allegations, nor am I going to summarize the company’s response. I wanted you to be aware of the story so you can have a look at it yourself.”
On a personal note, I first got introduced to Kristen and Amanda as part of a 9/11 10th anniversary remembrance with many in the media. They described the harrowing details of the fateful morning.
“You saw people jumping, just horrible stuff,” Shaughessy told me at the time for FishbowlNY.
Farinacci, who officially joined NY1 weeks just before, came into that day with history of firefighters in the family.
“As I was filming it, looking at it, you’re not really realizing that you’re watching people jump and athey’re dying,” Farinacci said.
A statement from the plantiffs’ lawyer Douglas Wigdor: “Women on TV should accurately reflect women in society and be celebrated at every age, not treated like decoration that can be disposed and replaced with a newer version.”
Widgor added, “[They were clearly] told that their careers are over, as NY1 seems to believe that younger faces, when it comes to women, are a ‘better look’ for the bottom line.”