Kurt Knuttson, better known by his on-air persona “Kurt the CyberGuy,” is suing KTLA and several other Tribune stations for breach of contract and age discrimination, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Knuttson joined KTLA, Tribune’s CW affiliate in Los Angeles, as a technology reporter in 1995. He agreed to provide his reporting to KTLA in exchange for exposure, and within two years, his reports were being syndicated to other Tribune stations.
In 2008, he signed a five-year deal with the station, but two years later, his contract was terminated. Knuttson says he was informed that the deal would be renegotiated, but that he would be paid less. In 2011, he was informed he would no longer appear on the air.
THR has more details on Knuttson’s version of what happened next:
Despite being let go, Knutsson says his name and image continued for some time on the TV station’s websites, but when a viewer clicked on the link, they were shown consumer technology reports by Rich DeMuro instead, that were broadcast from the same studio as CyberGuy, with the same format and style
KTLA and the other stations never announced his departure to viewers. He says they also “manipulated content descriptions (keywords and metatags) in order to produce misleading results from common search engines so persons seeking Knutsson were routed to (DeMuro).”
“KTLA derived millions of dollars in net revenue from new business in respect of CyberGuy broadcast programming,” says the suit, “but KTLA failed and refused and continues to refuse to pay (Knutsson)” the 20 percent of those revenues he should receive.
Knuttson says the decision to terminate his employment was motivated “by a company bias against age, specifically with regard to on-air talent.” He is seeking unspecified damages and legal fees.