Holding flashlights and singing “We Shall Overcome,” about two dozen people showed up in support of WUSA anchor J.C. Hayward on a Northwest Washington, D.C. sidewalk.
The anchor for the local CBS affiliate has been off the air since early October after being suspended for her alleged role in a lawsuit accusing executives at a local charter school of siphoning off millions of dollars of the school’s money into two for-profit companies.
“The charges against J.C. do not match the J.C. that we know. J.C. has always given,” Norma Stewart, who said she has been a friend of Hayward for decades, told The Washington Post.
Friends and supporters who gathered outside WUSA’s offices Thursday prayed and sang, and said there’s no way Hayward — who has frequently volunteered for and donated to local charities — would have knowingly been involved in anything inappropriate.
Hayward stands accused of helping incorporate one of the companies and receiving payments from that company. No criminal charges have been filed. Her lawyer says she knew nothing of the scheme, and has asked to have her removed from the suit. Though, a recent document refutes that claim.
“JC is a leader in the community and has been a mentor to young people aspiring to work in TV for decades,” said WUSA general manager Mark Burdett. “All of us here at WUSA are hoping for a speedy resolution to these legal proceedings.”
Hayward’s friends told The Post the WUSA anchor had no part in organizing the protest.