Phillip Perea, the man who shot himself this morning in front of the News Corp. headquarters in Manhattan, may have started his journey to first protesting, then shooting himself, after getting in trouble for a picture he used to promote a story on Facebook.
Perea was a promotions producer at FOX’s Austin station KTBC for 10 months, until last July. In February 2014, he promoted a story on the station’s Facebook page using a picture of Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo next to a woman who had been arrested for jaywalking.
In July, The Austin Chronicle wrote, “But the [picture] he used of the chief was more sensational than informative, and Perea’s superiors didn’t like it – because, apparently, neither did Acevedo.”
Perea provided the Chronicle a recorded conversation he had with KTBC Vice President and General Manager Michael Lewis concerning the Facebook posting. Three months afterward, in a May 24 meeting concerning his imminent suspension (levied, based on the same recordings, due to alleged inappropriate behavior and an alleged general inability to follow directions), Perea recorded Lewis saying that Acevedo hadn’t agreed to an individualized interview with Fox since the subsequently deleted photo had been Facebooked.
“He was so offended by that, that we’re on the outs,” Lewis (as identified by Perea) apparently told Perea. “He won’t come on our station anymore.” He said Acevedo was letting Fox sit in and record group media interviews, but avoiding one-on-ones – and added that the photo had made Acevedo “look like a buffoon.”