Fired Gay Anchor: Martyr or Mess?

Charles Perez was the perfect blow-dried sex symbol Miami news anchor. But he was gay, and last week he was fired. And while the station say Perez's gay-ness was immaterial, he says it had everything to do with getting canned.

WPLG, the Miami ABC affiliate, has said that it was Perez's insubordination and high profile personal issues that forced them to fire him (he filed a complaint against the station after a personal email from him to his therapist was leaked there). The Miami New Times says that station insiders attributed Perez's firing the uproar over the leaked email scandal and its fallout—too much publicity is bad for the station's image. The same would have happened to anyone. But Perez himself is firmly in martyr mode; he writes that the anti-gay sentiment at work was overt, and that it led first to his being demoted to weekend anchor, and then fired:

One of my colleagues, a higher-up at the station, told me: "The weekends will be better for you, anyway, Charles. You and Keith [my partner] want to have kids. It's a lot less high-profile there."...

In fact, over the previous five months, I'd been told, "Don't get married, Charles. We don't need that." I'd also been told not to have children. In essence: "You're the main anchor and you're gay, but let's not push it."

WPLG also does have a gay news director! But he's not on air so who knows? Charles Perez is either a brave civil rights martyr or a vain egomaniac but far be it from us to make judgments.
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