After Fox Sports Florida contractor Emily Austen was recorded saying what she said about Jews, Chinese and Mexicans last week, FSN Florida said she was no longer scheduled to work at the regional sports network which for a contractor means she’s been fired.
Reporters and anchors get fired from stations all the time with little to no permanent damage done to their careers. But what does the future likely hold for someone like Austen, who fell so publicly?
Can the former weekend sports anchor and reporter for Nexstar’s KAMR-KCIT in Amarillo, Texas pick up and move to another market or should she start looking at other careers?
Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch asked a few people who could give her a second chance whether they would and, if not, what Austen’s next steps should be.
“I can’t imagine anyone who would give her a chance unless the earth was suddenly void of female ‘commentators,'” a prominent sports TV executive who works for a network told Deitsch in part. “If I’m advising her, I’d say disappear for awhile and figure out how you become a serious practicing journalist. If that’s beyond your capabilities or desires, then choose a new career because no self respecting network needs the crap they will receive for employing your services.”
“One other thing: no person wants to be defined by their worst moment on their worst day,” he said. “We all make mistakes. Her mistake is now on a perpetual loop and that’s unfortunate for her. That’s why she needs to take a hiatus and think about coming as a different type of person and a serious journalist. I would also send Kevin Love an apology.”
“This is an exercise in best positioning herself for the next job opportunity to come as opposed to trying to salvage her current employment, which obviously is an entirely different set of circumstances,” said an agent who represents well-known people in the sports media. “As such, my advice would be for her to address this head-on sooner rather than later by eating crow, and lots of it, and to maintain consistency in her messaging from here on out. She needs to understand and accept the reality that moving forward, she has forfeited the right to be given the benefit of the doubt. If, at any point, she comes across as disingenuous with regards to taking complete ownership of her actions, then she might as well choose a new career altogether.”
Over the weekend, she sent out an apology on social media.
“I made a terrible mistake,” wrote Austen. “I was in an environment where I was trying to be funny and make a joke, and my comments were insensitive. You can trust this was absolutely not my intention. Anyone who knows me knows that is not how I truly feel. I will continue to work hard to prove myself and make things right. I know I have some growing to do, and I sincerely apologize. Something like this will never happen again.”
So Deitsch asked the executives about her again.
The cable sports TV network executive:
“I am no PR expert but how can she say ‘trying to be funny and make a joke.’ Racist jokes?”
The sports TV network executive:
“I think it’s a good first step: sincere regret without qualification and admitting she has growing to do. Now go grow by being about serious work.”
The public relations staffer:
“The ‘that’s not what I really think”‘route is no bueno. Character is who you are when no ones watching. Or you think few will see.”
— Emily Austen (@emilyausten_) June 12, 2016