Charter Communications-owned Spectrum News NY1 and representatives for NY1 anchors, reporters Roma Torre, Kristen Shaughnessy, Jeanine Ramirez, Vivian Lee, Amanda Farinacci announced that both sides had settled their June 2019 gender and age discrimination lawsuit, and that the quintet of TV newsers will be leaving the network as part of that settlement.
Additional details of the settlement were not shared.
“We are pleased to announce we have reached a confidential resolution of the lawsuit filed by Roma Torre, Kristen Shaughnessy, Jeanine Ramirez, Vivian Lee and Amanda Farinacci and as a result, have mutually agreed to part ways,” Spectrum Networks said in a statement. “We want to thank them for their years of dedicated service in reporting the news for New Yorkers and we wish them well in their future endeavors.”
Douglas H. Wigdor and David E. Gottlieb of Wigdor LLP —the firm representing the journalists— put out a statement of their own concerning the sentiment: “It has been a true privilege to represent Ms. Torre, Ms. Shaughnessy, Ms. Ramirez, Ms. Lee and Ms. Farinacci who have cumulatively been on air at NY1 for more than 100 years. We thank of all of the many people who supported their cause and we thank the many fans who tuned in to watch them fairly and accurately report the news for so many years.”
According to the 2019 suit, the plaintiffs’ careers began a “demonstrable, precipitous decline” beginning in 2016, after Charter merged with Time Warner Cable. The lawsuit also cited the March 11, 2019 New York Times opinion piece titled The Fight to Be a Middle-Aged Female News Anchor, which addresses age discrimination in the news media.
The situation between NY1 and the plaintiffs had allegedly worsened in the months after the suit had been filed.
Vice reporter Diana Falzone published a story in May of this year after speaking with a NY1 producer who left the network in the spring after witnessing alleged retaliation toward the same female reporters and anchors who had filed the suit.
Another producer told Vice that the network wanted to “make the women feel as if they were really all alone,” adding that she left because she “couldn’t tolerate it anymore.”
“The workplace is increasingly hostile since we’ve filed our lawsuit,” Jeanine Ramirez told Vice. “There are managers among the top ranks who refuse to acknowledge us.”
Torre, Shaughnessy, Ramirez, Lee and Farinacci put out a joint statement this afternoon concerning the settlement: “We are pleased to announce we have reached a confidential resolution of our lawsuit against Charter/NY1. After engaging in a lengthy dialogue with NY1, we believe it is in everyone’s interest – ours, NY1’s and our viewers – that this litigation be resolved and we have mutually agreed to part ways. We want to thank everyone who has supported us through these times – please know that the support from each and every person has made a real difference.”
According to a TV Eyes search, Shaughnessy anchored the news on Wednesday, Dec. 30. Ramirez filed a report on NY1 on Dec. 30th as well. Lee anchored the news on Sunday, Dec. 27. Farinacci, NY1’s Staten Island reporter, filed a report for the network on Sunday, Dec. 20. Torre most recently anchored the news NY1 Friday, Dec. 18.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo weighed in on the announcement.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) December 31, 2020
As did Rep. Alexandria-Ocasio-Cortez:
Incredibly sad to see. These are top-notch journalists beloved by our city. https://t.co/p0daYC5zZH
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 31, 2020