A veteran, weather-beaten meteorologist in Los Angeles recently filed a discrimination lawsuit against KABC-TV, alleging he wasn’t even considered for the position of green-screen gesticulator because the station had already made up its mind to hire an attractive young woman with very little experience. Armed with the knowledge that many, many, MANY women over the course of 20th century history have been passed over for jobs simply because they are women, let us proceed carefully to this tale of alleged injustice.
The lawsuit filed by seasoned meteorologist Kyle Hunter alleges that he applied for the job of weekend meteorologist at KABC-TV back in June 2011, but, in spite of his 25 years of experience as satellite augur (the suit says he’d worked as a broadcaster in LA and San Diego), a bachelor’s AND master’s in meteorology, and yet a third bachelor’s in political science “with an emphasis on earth and space sciences from UCLA,” he, along with “multiple qualified persons age 40 and over,” were never interviewed for the gig. Unwilling to chalk this non-interview up to a tough economy and a general public attitude of “meh” towards weather predictors, Hunter, sensing that something wasn’t quite on the level, alleged that sexism and ageism were the prime factors behind his being ignored for the KABC-TV job.
From The Hollywood Reporter:
The lawsuit alleges Arnie Kleiner, KABC-TV president and general manager, and Cheryl Fair, KABC-TV vp and news director, "had previously decided to hire a young, attractive female for this position — preferably a blonde who physically resembled Indra Petersons," the woman who previously held the job.
Hunter suspects Bri Winkler, the woman who was ultimately hired, did not submit a formal application for the position. The suit goes on to list Winkler's qualifications, noting she was a recent college graduate who had worked on-air for one year in Amarillo, Texas, when she was hired in 2011. The suit says it is unusual for a person to jump from a relatively small market to Los Angeles, the second largest market in the U.S.
Hunter’s suit further alleges that KABC-TV has “a history of hiring young, attractive women" for the position of weather producer. One might be tempted to regard Hunter’s lawsuit with an eyeroll — especially considering that women are waaaaay more likely to be discriminated against in the job market — but discrimination is discrimination, and it sounds like his claim goes a few steps beyond sour grapes at holding more degrees than dentist moonlighting as a tenured English professor.
His lawsuit is seeking damages TBD in court, and claims that his being passed over for an interview violates California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.
Image view Getty, Stuart C. Wilson