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Why We Filed a Discrimination Lawsuit Against Our New York City TV Station

by ROMA TORRE

Roma Torre (standing left) with her fellow NY1 anchors who are suing the network.

Months ago we filed a lawsuit against NY1, owned by Charter Communications, for age and gender discrimination, and it sent a shockwave through the media world and beyond. We stepped out of line and we struck a nerve.

We heard from women all over the world who applauded us for putting a face on an “age-old” problem. We got high fives and hugs from many supportive colleagues and viewers for stating the obvious. Despite all the knowledge and experience we’ve gained over the years, despite the respect and recognition from the communities that we serve, despite the glowing evaluations from the very company that seeks our departure, we are being displaced by younger women and men.

It was not an easy decision to file a lawsuit. We understood that confronting our employer with a discrimination lawsuit could spell the end of our careers. But as we considered our options, we realized it was the only true choice we had and one we had to make. Unlike others who’ve filed suit against their employers after they are terminated, we continue to work at NY1 and have each experienced retaliation from our managers to the present day.

It has been a very difficult seven months since we went public. We also know it will not get any easier. But we are determined now more than ever to change the game. Of course, it’s always easier to sit back and let someone else fight the fight. But when you see wrongdoing and you don’t call it out, or at least acknowledge it, you allow it to continue without consequence. You become part of the problem and the cycle continues.

And so we are calling it out. Television news is a system, like so many others, designed by men in positions of power who cannot see beyond a woman’s aging face. The double standard that allows male anchors and reporters to go grey with gravitas while sidelining its veteran women has got to stop.

If age and gender discrimination is ever going to be a non-issue, more women are going to have to speak up. For your sake, your mothers, sisters, daughters and friends, please join us in changing the game. In time, with enough support, the line we stepped out of will fade away.

Roma Torre
Kristen Shaughnessy
Jeanine Ramirez
Vivian Lee
Amanda Farinacci

This essay was featured in the January 12th edition of The Sunday Paper. The Sunday Paper inspires hearts and minds to rise above the noise. To get The Sunday Paper delivered to your inbox each Sunday morning for free, click here to subscribe.

ROMA TORRE

Roma Torre, a two-time Emmy® recipient and more than 30 other awards, is celebrating her 26th anniversary at NY1, New York’s popular cable news channel, where she is an anchor and theater critic.

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