AGE DISCRIMINATION ON TV: 10 Anchors Who Were Replaced By Younger Women

vicky gutierrezVicky Gutierrez claims she was dropped from Telemundo because of her age.

Photo: Telemundo screencap

Former Telemundo reporter and anchor Vicky Gutierrez is suing the Spanish-language channel and parent company NBC Universal for age discrimination.  In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Gutierrez claims she was let go because she reached 50, and was replaced by a much younger woman to attract better ratings at a lower cost to the network. Gutierrez worked at LA station KVEA since 2003.  

According to the suit, the network claims to have “laid her off.” However, Gutierrez claims in the suit she was actually terminated, citing reasons she was let go as “multiple complaints about the working conditions at KVEA and she was an older female earning too much money.” 

This isn’t the first time an older female anchor was ousted in favour of a younger face.

1983: Christine Craft became the first woman to sue for age and sex discrimination.

Craft filed a suit after receiving a demotion at ABC affiliate KMBC-TV in Kansas City.

According to testimony from the trial, Craft was told she was demoted to reporter in 1979 because focus group research found she was 'too old, too unattractive and wouldn't defer to men.'

After a trial at Federal District Court in Kansas City, Craft was awarded $500,000.

1999: Janet Peckinpaugh was awarded $3.79 million after suing a network for a demotion.

Peckinpaugh accused Post-Newsweek Stations' CBS station Channel 3 of backing out on a promise to employ her for life.

She claimed the network discriminated against both her age and sex after a demotion in 1994 and firing her in 1995.

Peckinpaugh said she earned $250,000 per year as an anchor.

Post-Newsweek was found guilty of sex discrimination, breach of written and oral promises, and illegal retaliation.

She was originally awarded $8.3 million in January 1999, but that number was lowered to $3.79 million in March of '99. The number was later raised again to $4.9 million in July '99.

2002: Carol Kaplan filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against WGRZ-TV Buffalo.

In a lawsuit filed, Kaplan accused a station executive of saying she could replace her with a 'younger and prettier' woman.

The case was dismissed after Federal Judge John Curtin said there wasn't enough evidence for the discrimination claims to hold up. Bazi Kanani was hired in her place.

Kaplan anchored the 5 p.m. news for the Multimedia Entertainment owned station for 11 years.

2002: Susan Hutchison filed a lawsuit against KIRO-TV in Seattle for age discrimination.

Hutchison sued after a younger woman, Kristy Lee, was hired to take her place as nightly anchor.

The case was settled out of court in 2005.

Both the Associated Press and Seattle Times later made requests for documents from the case. The documents, released in 2009, revealed a different reason for Hutchison's firing:

The station alleged Hutchison confronted her boss about inappropriate behaviour with a female coworker.

'Why was he spending so much time with the coworker, whom she described as attractive, vivacious and gay?'

Hutchison also allegedly called in sick after being denied two days vacation in July 2002. A coworker reported seeing her canoeing in Oregon on those days.

As a result, she was suspended for five days but kept a position on air at noon, at a lower salary of $150,000, the documents said.

2003: Marny Stanier Midkiff claimed she was fired from The Weather Channel because they wanted a younger woman on air.

After working at the Weather Channel for 16 years, Midkiff said she was fired in November 2003 because the channel wanted younger on-air talent.

Midkiff's lawyer told the press The Weather Channel told his client they were looking for a 'younger woman on camera' who promoted a 'sexier look' with 'top buttons open in the blouse.'

The case was dismissed according to documents filed April 25, 2006 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

She was among 27 other employees to lose their jobs after the station underwent a reorganization in November 2003.

July 2009: Shelly Sindland filed a complaint of gender and age discrimination against Fox 61 in Connecticut after a station boss joked about 'Big Boob Fridays.'

2012: Kyle Hunter sued CBS claiming the network only hired sexy young women.

Women aren't the only ones filing sex and discrimination suits.

Hunter filed a suit in March claiming both KCBS and KCAL passed over him in favour of younger, inexperienced women because of his age and sex.

At KCBS, he claimed to have lost out on a position to a young woman though he was 'far more qualified, and far more experienced.'

After another job application, he claims he received an email from KCAL saying there 'was not an opening.' Soon after, the suit claims, Evelyn Taft was hired by the station.

CBS provided The Hollywood Reporter with the following statement:

'The complaint is frivolous and based on gross misstatements of fact. There was no need for the stations to interview someone we were already well aware of. The forecast calls for a vigorous defence by CBS and an early dismissal of the complaint.'

June 2012: Sue Simmons leaves NBC 4 in New York.

June 2012: Ann Curry leaves the Today show.

Some said the 55-year-old Curry was replaced by the Savannah Guthrie due to possible age discrimination--Guthrie is 15 years Curry's junior. She also refused to die her graying hair.

However, Curry's ousting came after ratings slipped in the year after she replaced Meredith Vieira. As a result, ABC's 'Good Morning America' has taken first place from Today in the ratings.

Now test your knowledge on celebrities' real ages ...

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