An Open Letter from Five Anchorwomen Who Sued NY1 for Age Discrimination

Unseen Women On TV
Jun 19 · 3 min read
Clockwise from top left: Roma Torre, Vivian Lee, Amanda Farinacci, Jeanine Ramirez and Kristen Shaughnessy.

We are five award-winning female journalists with more than 100 years of collective experience as anchors and reporters for New York One (“NY1”), the metro-area news channel run by Charter Communications, Inc. (“Charter”). Today, we filed an age and gender discrimination lawsuit in the Southern District of New York against Charter/NY1 because we have been treated like second-class citizens for years. Since filing this lawsuit we have received an enormous amount of support for which we are thankful.

We filed this lawsuit because we have simply been left with no choice — we cannot and will not sit idly by while we are cast aside and our complaints of mistreatment are ignored. While we have poured our hearts and souls into our work, our respective careers have recently taken a sharp decline as we have been confronted with the stark reality of gender discrimination and ageism.

This is hardly a new phenomenon in the news media, and we are not alone. It has been widely reported that older female television journalists often face never-ending hurdles towards advancement and frequently face uphill battles just to maintain the status quo. For that reason, the #SeeHer initiative aimed at ensuring the on-air media accurately reflects women in our society was recently highlighted by the New York Times in a March 11, 2019 article titled “The Fight to Be a Middle-Aged Female News Anchor.” Unfortunately, this form of age and gender discrimination will continue to happen until people stand up and make clear that it will not be tolerated. We have decided to use our voices towards that end. This is a conversation that must happen and must happen now. Because if not now, when?

We have eight daughters amongst us. We have talented younger female colleagues. There are professional young women across the media who will one day reach our age and absent a cultural shift may one day find themselves in an all too familiar situation. We are fighting for any woman who has reached a certain age and has been intentionally marginalized, passed-over and deemed less relevant because of her age. We are fighting for any woman who found themselves signing a severance deal that felt more like hush money, rather than a genuine thank you for years of loyalty and hard work. We are fighting for our colleagues who see what is happening but do not dare speak up for fear of retribution. We are fighting for ourselves and we are fighting for all of them.

In this 21st century, we should be long past the double-standard that allows men to age with gravitas while women are saddled with an expiration date. Women in media should be celebrated for their diversity of experience and wisdom. We should be long past the days that women of a certain age are deemed expendable. We call out all newsrooms nationwide to look in their collective mirror.

Please join us in our campaign to #BroadcastWomen of all ages across the country. You can follow our handle on twitter @UnseenWomenOnTV and join the conversation using the hashtag #BroadcastWomen.

We are not saying anything new. On the contrary, this is #OldNews.

Roma Torre
Anchor
NY1 since 1992
61 years old

Kristen Shaughnessy
Anchor/Reporter
NY1 since 1995
50 years old

Janine Ramirez
Brooklyn Reporter/Anchor
NY1 since 1996
49 years old

Vivian Lee
Anchor/Reporter
NY1 since 2008
44 years old

Amanda Farinacci
Staten Island Reporter
NY1 Since 2000
40 years old

For more information, contact Wigdor LLP:

Douglas H. Wigdor, Founding Partner
(212) 257–6800
dwigdor@wigdorlaw.com

David E. Gottlieb, Partner
(212) 257–6800
dgottlieb@wigdorlaw.com

Julia L. Elmaleh-Sachs, Associate
(212) 257–6800
jelmaleh-sachs@wigdorlaw.com

Unseen Women On TV

Written by

Female anchors fighting ageism in the newsroom. Led by Roma Torre, Kristen Shaughnessy, Jeanine Ramirez, Vivian Lee & Amanda Farinacci. #BroadcastWomen

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