5 New York City anchorwomen sue major cable company over alleged age and gender discrimination

Posted at 2:18 PM, Jun 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-19 16:19:02-04

Five newscasters at NY1, a New York City news station, are suing parent company Charter Communications over age and gender discrimination. In a lawsuit obtained by the Associated Press, the anchors allege NY1 “blatantly marginalized them and cast them aside in favor of younger women and men.”

Emmy-winning anchor Roma Torre and her co-plaintiffs say Charter Communications, which acquired NY1 in 2016, altered their career trajectories. They say they would like to return to the positions they occupied before Charter took control of NY1, and are seeking unspecified damages in the lawsuit.

Joining Torre in the lawsuit are Amanda Farinacci, Vivian Lee, Jeanine Ramirez and Kristen Shaughnessy. They range in age from 40 to 61, according to The New York Times. “We feel we are being railroaded out of the place,” Torre told the Times. “Men age on TV with a sense of gravitas, and we as women have an expiration date.”

Amanda Farinacci, Vivian Lee, Roma Torre, Jeanine Ramirez and Kristen Shaughnessy are all suing NY1’s parent company, Charter Communications, alleging gender and age discrimination.

NY1, a first-of-its-kind 24-hour local news channel, is a part of Spectrum News, which has local affiliates across the U.S.

In a news release, the five anchors said women on television “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.”

They add, “We are fighting for ourselves and all other women who face this same struggle on a daily basis, and we hope to send a clear message to all news media across the country that this must change.”

In a statement emailed to CBS News, Charter Communications spokeswoman Maureen Huff said the company takes these allegations seriously, “and as we complete our thorough review, we have not found any merit to them.”

“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,” the statement said.

In regards to Torre, Huff said she remains the anchor of the “Live at Noon” show on NY1.

“In recent years, we’ve added more live content at different hours, so it’s possible that viewers see less of her face in the afternoon, but the content production hasn’t decreased. The show was built around Roma as the anchor, underscoring her importance and prominence at NY1,” Huff wrote.

She also said Lee requested to become a part-time employee a few years ago and that the show that she asked to host, “Spotlight,” was canceled.

“Because she is a valued employee, we have been working at finding new ways to accommodate her request for more hours, but these opportunities can take time to open up, and we can’t displace existing anchors for no reason. She hasn’t been passed over for any opening,” Huff said.

In regards to Farinacci, Huff wrote that she is a beat reporter covering New York’s Staten Island.

“Like all beat reporters, Amanda is responsible for enterprising and developing story ideas,” Huff wrote. “Staten Island generates some of NY1’s highest viewer engagement and if anything, we would like more stories and reporting from her.”

CBS News has reached out to all five anchors involved in the suit for comment, and is awaiting response from their lawyer.