The following New York Post article just appeared on the The Marny Stanier Appreciation Society Yahoo! News Group:
January 17, 2006 — A top female exec at The Weather Channel alerted
company brass that plans to “young up” the network and fire two
anchorwomen constituted age discrimination — and was promptly axed
herself, new court papers reveal.
Lois Craig, top dog in TWC’s human-resources department, was “promptly
terminated” after she told CEO Bill Burke she feared plans to boot
prime-time anchor Marny Stanier Midkiff and another female colleague
violated discrimination laws, according to the documents.
The papers — which reference a deposition given by Craig — were filed
last month in Atlanta Supreme Court and mark the latest salvo from
Midkiff, 43, who sparked a storm of controversy for TWC when she sued
last January over her 2003 firing.
The new papers are part of the lawsuit Midkiff, a 16-year vet of TWC,
filed alleging her boss, General Manager and Vice President Terry
Connelly, fired her after claiming that older on-camera staff was
costing the network viewers.
Connelly openly spoke of female staffers as “matronly, dowdy and
nun-like,” according to the original suit. After the suit was filed, a
videotape emerged that showed Connelly at a company seminar openly
ridiculing the wardrobe of a Fox News anchor, saying it made her look old.
“Do you want to look old?!” Connelly shouts.
Meanwhile, the newly filed papers claim that women over 40 weren’t
Connelly’s only target.
In 2003, Connelly told male anchor Rick Griffin, then 47, that he
looked “old” and needed cosmetic surgery on his eyelids if he wanted
to stay in the biz, according to the court papers, which cite
Griffin refused. That October, after being issued a warning to
“improve his performance,” Griffin was fired at Connelly’s behest, the
documents claim. For her part, Craig filed charges claiming she was
fired in retaliation for opposing age discrimination — and landed “a
very substantial settlement” from TWC, the new papers claim.
The documents also reveal that Connelly was fired from a Cincinnati TV
station where “a female employee over 40 brought an age- and
sex-discrimination case against the station in connection with
Connelly’s participation in the elimination of her position.”
Connelly directed women to change their hairstyles to look “younger.”
A young hire, Hillary Andrews, was told to bleach her hair and
eyebrows, the papers claim.
Connelly also ignored a company order to find other slots at TWC for
Midkiff and others whose jobs he wanted to eliminate, the papers claim.
At the same time, the papers say, Connelly was looking to fill those
slots with talent in their 20s and 30s — including Andrews, Alexandra
Steele, Sandra Diaz, Jen Carfagno and Stephanie Abrams.
TWC has declined to comment on the ongoing Midkiff suit.
An Atlanta judge is slated to hear arguments in the next few weeks.
Wow. Let’s all hope that Connelly and his fellow higher-ups at TWC really take it on the chin.