Charles Perez, a 46-year-old South Florida news anchor who filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Opportunity Board after being switched from weeknights to the lower-paying weekend shift — claiming his demotion was the result of his news director’s discomfort with his homosexuality — has been fired by the station in the wake of the complaint.
“His employment has been terminated,” Perez’s lawyer, Melanie E. Damian told The Miami Herald. “We filed a charge of discrimination last week. We will now amend that to include his termination as part of his claims.”
Perez said he had been terminated, but declined further comment until after he spoke with his agent.
Perez, who is openly gay, said in court papers filed last week that ABC 10 bosses demoted him “because of their discomfort over the increasingly high profile of my sexual orientation.”
He said that repeated clashes during performance evaluations with his news director, Bill Pohovey, revealed the station’s motives. Perez said Pohovey told him he was “too soft,” and sounded effeminate when gabbing with co-anchor Laurie Jennings. Another contributing factor that might have hastened tensions between Perez and the station was a leaked e-mail Perez wrote to his therapist, discussing sexual issues.
Pohovey said in a statement: “This is an outrageous accusation … as a gay man myself, I can safely say the Station does not discriminate against gay people. Charles’ claim that the Station discriminates against gay people is untrue and offensive.”