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Miami Newscaster Charles Perez Fired After Filing Complaint

On Tuesday, I posted about Miami news anchor Charles Perez, and his filing of a discrimination complaint against his employer, claiming that WPLG had demoted him because the station was uncomfortable with "the increasingly high profile of [his] sexual orientation."

Charlesperez Now, Perez has been fired.

TMZ reports: "Perez believes he was fired in retaliation for filing the complaint with the EOB. The station claims Perez's recent "actions" left then 'no real choice' but to fire him. Here's the catch -- the boss who demoted him is himself gay and issued a statement saying, 'As a gay man myself, I can safely say the station does not discriminate against gay people.' The station also denies the allegation. But Perez isn't buying it, and tells TMZ he plans on filing a '7 or 8 figure lawsuit' against both the station and it's parent company, the Washington Post."

According to the Miami Herald, "On March 16, a private e-mail from Perez written to a family therapist was forwarded to everyone in the reporter's online address book. The e-mail said Perez told the therapist he needed to work through his 'gender identity issues.' Three days later, Pohovey called Perez into his office for a 'new' performance review, this time saying that Perez came across 'too soft,' didn't sound 'main anchor-like' and smiled too much with co-anchor Laurie Jennings. 'Like girlfriends.' On April 3, Perez went to court seeking a restraining order against his former partner, Dennis Ricardo Peña, whom he accused of leaking the private e-mail. Later that month, Perez claims he 'began to disappear'' from station promotional spots. He lost the weeknight anchor seat July 22."

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Comments

  1. He sounds kind of paranoid, like he suspects the people in his life are conspiring against him.

    (And hate to say it, but I've developed a negative association with the name "Perez," which I TRY to suppress while I'm reading these bits; but admittedly, I have a really hard time being totally objective.)

    Posted by: sparks | Aug 7, 2009 7:48:57 AM


  2. I don't know if Perez's claims are true, there are two sides to the story.

    But just because his Boss his gay doesn't leave out the fact that he was discriminated. As a gay man myself I know plenty of self haters, or even those that will discriminate against gay because of the way certain gays behave.

    Posted by: kujhawker | Aug 7, 2009 8:29:40 AM


  3. This makes is sound as if the gay boss were discriminating against Perez for being too femme.

    Sickening when gay people turn on each other over bullshit like that.

    Posted by: Ben | Aug 7, 2009 9:03:11 AM


  4. Sparks,

    Are you kidding? Look at the timeline and then look at the suddenly changed performance review. The first review says that he is too much like an anchor man. Then the second says he's too much the opposite.

    As for having a gay boss, GET REAL!! Some gay men are some of the worst corporate bigots against other gays. Look at the late scumbag Merv Griffin who discriminated against gay employees.

    BTW, isn't it illegal and considered retaliation to fire an employee after he's made a complaint of discrimination with most human rights agencies?

    I hope the station gets its butt kicked in a lawsuit.

    Posted by: gunnar | Aug 7, 2009 9:18:21 AM


  5. A gay man can't be a homophobe? We see it every day with all the self-loathing that occurs. Sometimes GLBT folks are our community's own worst enemies.

    Posted by: shane | Aug 7, 2009 9:34:23 AM


  6. Though all the facts aren't out, I get the sense Perez wasnt fired for being gay but for bringing his personal drama into the workplace. Restraining order, leaked emails, etc--they can create uncomfortable work environments. I dont know if its legal to fire someone on those grounds or not. But Perez has been openly gay for years--he used to host the Charles Perez Show (and popped up on the first season of the Real World as Norm's semi-closeted boyfriend).

    Posted by: dizzy spins | Aug 7, 2009 9:55:24 AM


  7. Ugh. You guys have got it all wrong!

    If Perez has 'gender identity issues' then the firing has nothing to do with his sexual orientation (the fact that he is gay). It has to do with the looming possibility that, one day, he may want to become / resemble a woman.

    That said, the boss is right in commenting that "the station does not discriminate against gay people," given that this is a trans issue. The boss, in this case, should NOT be labelled as self-loathing or homophobic, but as transphobic.

    Posted by: Smokey | Aug 7, 2009 9:59:46 AM


  8. What sort of company fires someone for exercising legal recourse available to them? That's nuts. They should have cut him a cheque and tried to make him go away.

    Like that Sullivan and Cromwell thing, they are going to have to pay anyway, so they might as well pay up now and avoid the negative publicity.

    Posted by: rick | Aug 7, 2009 10:01:18 AM


  9. @Sparks: Just so you know, Perez Hilton's (assuming that's who you're talking about) real name isn't even Perez... And there are plenty of genuine good-guys named Perez who are gay (like me).

    There are some workplaces that are extremely homophobic... the NFL, construction sites, newsrooms. Seriously, I've worked in many newsrooms, and while the gay population is VERY high, the self-loathing or even closet-dwelling is even higher.

    Posted by: Mike E. Perez | Aug 7, 2009 10:07:04 AM


  10. I think the whole, "I'm gay, so therefore they don't discriminate" defense is crap. the entertainment industry is notorious for liking us fags in the background but not on camera... when they replace him with an openly gay anchor i will think again.

    Posted by: ian | Aug 7, 2009 10:15:47 AM


  11. I can't reiterate this enough...

    Given that Perez was having 'gender identity issues,' this is an issue of transphobia (of his boss' discomfort with Perez's potential desire to become / resemble a woman); NOT one of homophobia (of the boss' distaste for himself / other gay men).

    If you guys are going to pick a fight, at least know what you're fighting against!

    Posted by: Smokey | Aug 7, 2009 10:34:10 AM


  12. Gay men can be homophobic - And Perez can continue to be a lousy TV personality.

    Considering Perez is a perennial wet fish on camera, his firing can just as easily be a reasonable business action.
    IF it did have anything to do with these released 'emails/phone messages', it would still be valid, not as to the CONTENT of the messages, but as to Perez not keeping his personal life in check.
    As a high-profile rep for the station that needs to project a sense of maturity, responsibility, stability, etc - being in a position that yr ex would pull this crap looks bad. Not a gay issue, not a trans issue, a 'you represent our station/get your reputation in order' issue - just like every other TV anchor/host.

    Posted by: OttoErotica | Aug 7, 2009 10:43:09 AM


  13. It sounds to me like he should be suing his ex-boyfriend, not his ex-employer. One would assume that if the ex really sent out damaging personal emails, this was the outcome he was trying to achieve.

    I can't think of too many employers who wouldn't fire someone whose out of control personal issues and drama were stirring up shit in the workplace -- especially once it spilled out into the public at large as it has now.

    Perez should take his gorgeous face and television experience and head off to another market for a fresh start. He should also take this as a lesson to be more careful about who he chooses to bring into his personal life...and keep that life separate from business.

    The parts about him seeming "too soft" sound horrible, but tv news will dismiss or demote you for any frivolous little thing - from weight gain to wrinkles. How many homely bald men do you see anchoring your local tv news? If you see any, realize that they're the exception.

    Live by the image, die by the image.

    Posted by: paul c | Aug 7, 2009 10:51:05 AM


  14. If every straight TV news personality was penalized because of events in their personal life that had become "public" beyond their control there would be so few left that most programs would turn into text-crawl captioned slide shows.

    The smoking gun here is the blatant contradiction in comments by management about his performance...in LESS THAN a month after the first but after the psycho ex tried to boil the bunny.

    March 3rd: "too anchor-like" and too ‘Brian Williams" in his delivery. [Even tho Perez job WAS as an anchor and Brian Williams was recently named in a poll as the favorite of the three network news anchors.]

    March 19th [after people, apparently including some at the station, got the e-mail]: "new" performance review: "too soft," didn't sound "main anchor-like" and smiled too much with co-anchor Laurie Jennings "like girlfriends."

    Courts don't like such inconsistencies in employment discrimination cases. I believe Perez and I bet they will, too, IF the station doesn't have the sense to reinstate him or settle before it goes before a judge.

    And I admire Perez for being willing to expose himself to homophobic public criticism in order to fight for what's right...for him and others in TV whose gayness starts to make their money-grubbing bosses uncomfortable [and to blog cockroaches like Ottoerotica and Dizzy Spins...come to think of it, names I don't recall seeing on the Road before this story. Could Perez's ex be continuing his cyber terror campaign here?]

    Posted by: Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com | Aug 7, 2009 12:47:32 PM


  15. Gee, Sparks, I have the same paranoia whenever I hear the last name "Smith", or "Jones", or.... never mind. Keep your fucking bigotry to yourself.

    Posted by: mikeyj | Aug 7, 2009 1:25:27 PM


  16. We had a straight(ish) guy here in Vegas who got fired last year for posting an ad on Craigslist looking for a 3way with him and his GF. Dumbass put his pic up!

    I don't know the story here, but, media is VERY conscious of their employees personal lives.

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Aug 7, 2009 2:50:40 PM


  17. I second the motion: Keep your f'ing closed minded views to yourself Sparks. They are offensive and I am not offended easily.

    Yes, I totally agree with the points about Television News and "reputations," however, since stations are in business to make money, there are still laws in place protecting their employees (anchors, etc.) from abusive behavior: demotion, discrimination, retaliation.

    The news director is only an "openly gay" pimp in my opinion. Now since I do not know what Mr. Perez is like to work with, he, like the rest of us is afforded protection under the law.

    What are the "economics" since he was under contract for another two years? Where is the "cost saving?" How is it that he had one review performed and then three days AFTER the infamous mass emailing that received another?

    Oh yes, the religious, self-righteous right winged "management" were probably feeling worried that "'one of them' is amongst us." LOL!

    His former partner ought to be criminally charged for hacking in to his email and forwarding it. There are probably alcohol/substance abuse issues at play too, but when it is all said and done with, discrimination is against the law and to anyone with an ounce of brains, this is pretty much an open/closed case.

    Now that he is no longer working, hopefully Mr. Perez will seek and receive the necessary help that he needs for his personal issues and instead of making fun or judging him based on his personal life, that we work on being better people who are more accepting of others who are different from you or I (gender, sexual orientation, religion, culture).

    This is what is wrong with our country in my opinion. The entitled white man who seems to be able to set the national tone and encourage devisiveness. And yes, I am a white man myself. LOL!

    Posted by: strussman | Aug 7, 2009 4:02:47 PM


  18. Yes. I'm fucking Charles Perez's ex. No wait! I AM Charles Perez's ex! Or, maybe, (checking my junk...) I AM CHARLES PEREZ!!!

    Got me.

    As for being a blog cockroach. Also guilty. As a freelance copywriter, I don't have the time others do blogging about the same nonsense covered elsewhere. My blog is for my friends and to post my PAID writing and reviews from elsewhere. It seems so "crazy cat lady" to pick a random cause, I dunno, like queers in military say..., and wrap a flag around myself demanding respect.
    So, you got me Micky at LeonardM. You can take off your Angela Lansbury drag now...

    But please note that I gave you props before disagreeing with you on the issue, didn't respond to other childish name calling,etc. I'm just being my gay self and offering my gay opinion. And If you don't see me on here enough - I guess it's cause I got this thing called a life...

    Posted by: OttoErotica | Aug 7, 2009 4:11:27 PM


  19. @MikeyJ - Sparks didn't say that he was paranoid, he said that Perez sounded paranoid.

    He also said that he had an aversion to the name Perez (not that the name made him paranoid), which led you to then lamely make an analogy to the names "Smith" or "Jones" and accuse Sparks of "fucking bigotry".

    Number one, Sparks real name may be Gonzalez or Juarez for all you know, so you were completely presumptive on that level.

    Number two, it's not bigotry to have an aversion to a certain name. Are you fond of the names "Hitler", "Manson", "Santorum" or "Dahmer"? If so, is it because you hate white people or because creepy people of any race or ethnicity can ruin an otherwise innocuous name for everyone who shares it?

    Find something else to chastise and curse at people over...and for the record, the name Perez skeeves me out now too, thanks to one piece of trash who co-opted it to sell his sleaze.

    Posted by: paul c | Aug 7, 2009 8:36:24 PM


  20. As a 20-year TV news veteran, I can assure you the decision to fire Charles Perez did not come from News Director Bill Pohovey.
    Those decisions are made at a higher level.
    Post-Newsweek is a huge corporation and there is no doubt someone much higher than Pohovey dropped the hammer on Chaz. Pohovey has hired numerous gay anchors and reporters at every station he has worked at. I have never known him to discriminate againt homosexuals.
    But this business is very unforgiving and it's really sad that if you screw up , its almost impossible to get a second chance.

    Posted by: Newsveteran | Aug 8, 2009 1:35:42 PM


  21. @Smokey- gender identity issues was a misdiagnosis. Charles is not leaning trans, he is a gay man, and a very caring thoughtful one at that. He can certainly bounce back, either on Logo or Sirius OutQ or another anchor job in another big market. He is a total sweetheart who was targeted for discrimination.

    Posted by: ty | Aug 8, 2009 4:51:41 PM


  22. Gay is acceptable in 20 states.
    Trans is only acceptable in 12.

    "Gender Identity Issues" means that the person is at least perceived to be possibly trans. That, as often as not, leads to immediate dismissal. It's not like being Gay.

    And plenty of Gays are transphobic.

    Posted by: Zoe Brain | Aug 8, 2009 11:14:27 PM


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