10:40pm PT by Aaron Couch
Meteorologist Sues KABC-TV Alleging Ageism, Sexism
A veteran meteorologists has filed a discrimination lawsuit against KABC-TV, alleging the Los Angeles TV station did not consider him for a position because it wanted to hire a young, attractive woman for the job.
According to a lawsuit Kyle Hunter filed Wednesday, Aug. 14, in Los Angeles Superior Court, Hunter applied for the job of weekend meteorologist in June 2011, but was never interviewed for the job. He alleges "multiple qualified persons age 40 and over" applied for the position, but they were also not interviewed.
The suit describes Hunter as a meteorologist with 25 years of experience, with both a bachelor's and master's degree in meteorology, and a third bachelor's degree in political science with an emphasis on earth and space sciences from UCLA. It says he worked as a broadcaster in Los Angeles and San Diego.
The lawsuit alleges Arnie Kleiner, KABC-TV president and general manager, and Cheryl Fair, KABC-TV vp and news director, "had previously decided to hire a young, attractive female for this position -- preferably a blonde who physically resembled Indra Petersons," the woman who previously held the job.
Hunter suspects Bri Winkler, the woman who was ultimately hired, did not submit a formal application for the position. The suit goes on to list Winkler's qualifications, noting she was a recent college graduate who had worked on-air for one year in Amarillo, Texas, when she was hired in 2011. The suit says it is unusual for a person to jump from a relatively small market to Los Angeles, the second largest market in the U.S.
In addition, Hunter's suit alleges KABC-TV has "a history of hiring young, attractive women" for another job, the position of weather producer, and claims KABC did nothing to fix its hiring practices.
The suit goes on to say that after Hunter learned he had not received the job, he inquired further and was treated hostilely by KABC staff.
The suit is seeking damages to be determined in court, and claims a violation of California's Fair Employment and Housing Act, failure to prevent harassment, discrimination and retaliation.
It says Hunter's "emotional health has substantially suffered and will continue to suffer in an amount to be proven at trial."
Also named in the suit is ABC Holding and an unknown number of John Doe defendants, employees of KABC who may have taken part in the hiring and its aftermath.
KABC did not immediately respond to a phone message and an e-mail for comment.
Hunter is represented by Teren Law Group.