Former WJXT anchor Deborah Gianoulis says Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson was her inspiration to tell her story after the Fox News anchor filed a sexual harassment suit against her boss Roger Ailes.
Gianoulis recently wrote an editorial in The Florida Times Union about her experience with sexual harassment going back 40 years.
While my boss was not asking me for sex, the context was indeed sexual. He wanted me to interview a shock jock who had the No. 1-rated morning drive show on the AM station known as The Big Ape. The Greaseman had huge tune-in for his blatantly racist rants and explicit sexual fantasies with me as an object.
I refused to do the interview, eliciting the angry response from my boss. But I didn’t win the argument since he simply assigned a male reporter to interview the shock jock in his Big Ape costume, which he wore to conceal his identity.
My identity was revealed live on TV each evening, and I couldn’t help but wonder how many of my viewers were also Greaseman listeners who found his salivating fantasies hilarious as they drove to work each morning. I was sick to my stomach whenever I heard his name.
When I was leaving Jacksonville to get married and move overseas, the Greaseman called me at home and said he wanted to apologize if he caused me any distress since it was all in good fun. I refused his apology.
“Nobody’s going to fire me anymore. I have a fabulous marriage, I’m so so fortunate, and I’ve had a voice in this community,” said Gianoulis, who called harassment an abuse of power. “So, if there was a way that I might be able to speak for those who couldn’t that’s why I felt I should do it. I could not have written that article when I was 22 years old and not have caused a firestorm — and maybe lost my job. I probably could not have gotten away with it. Now I can.”