Alfonso Robinson

Political activist, online journalist

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Backlash against Fox-CT’s “Women’s Day at the Capitol” video footage continues

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Since it’s been long alleged that Fox-CT enjoys exploiting women on Fridays, I thought it would be refreshing to bring attention on-going criticism the station is rightfully receiving regarding their disgusting b-roll video during their report on Women’s Day at the State Capitol.

First to take a jab at the station is this press release from the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women:

In a perfect irony, on Wednesday more than 250 people listened to high school senior Kristen Hinz read her award-winning essay about the importance of fighting sexist imagery even as one of the state’s most prominent media outlets used offensive film footage in reporting the event.

Women’s Day at the Capitol, held each year by the Connecticut General Assembly’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women to mark both advances and challenges in overcoming gender discrimination, was attended by a diverse crowd from throughout the state, as well as numerous legislators, Constitutional Officers, and representatives of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation. The keynote speaker, Marcia Gillespie, is a nationally renowned journalist and social justice advocate. Two high school seniors received accolades for their essays. They were joined by women-owned business proprietors, academics, students from New Haven’s Metropolitan Business Academy, proud grandparents, and individual citizens who gathered to hear Gillespie, former editor-in-chief of Ms. and Essence magazines, speak on the importance of staying vigilant in the face of the national attack on women’s rights.

Meanwhile, Fox CT News, twice during its morning newscast, ran close-up footage of anonymous women’s breasts. Although the station later apologized for the incident, many people in Connecticut and throughout the nation expressed outrage.

In her essay, Hinz said, “…while I live in the body of the society-defined ‘weaker sex’ – I can have power…I can be the voice of change, of revolution. I can use my words – both verbal and written – to halt those who mock the destruction of a woman’s body…”

“While we are grateful for the support PCSW has received from many in the Legislature, advocacy groups, and women and men from throughout the state and country, we hope this incident will shine a light on the ongoing, pervasive, and unacceptable discrimination against women that continues to erode our health and safety, and even our economic security,” said PCSW Executive Director Teresa Younger. “Women’s Day commemorates women’s history, raises awareness of public policy issues, is a forum for women’s voices, and encourages civic engagement. So we urge everyone who was appalled by the sexist film footage to learn about the work we do as one of the nation’s longest-standing and most effective non-partisan women’s commissions. And we encourage everyone to raise their voices – as Kristen has done – to stop such examples of sexual harassment.”

Next up to the plate, The Slate’s Josh Voorhees nails it with a common sense question…a question that has gone unanswered by Fox-CT.

My question, or at least one of my questions, is: Why does the network even have the footage on file? It’s hard to imagine a segment topic that would need to be illustrated by looped shots of breasts.

Not to be outdone, a reader with 27 years in the TV news business at Jim Romenesko’s blog had this to say.

“Fox station in Connecticut shows video of women’s breasts – and only breasts – in story about a Women’s History Month celebration. Appalling. Remember, this doesn’t happen by accident. I worked in TV News for 27 years. An editor and/or a producer had to select the video to cut, queue up and play for that story.”

BINGO! Remember, this footage was aired not once but TWICE.

As someone who has also done his fair share of TV work, I find it hard that the same “mistake” could be aired TWICE in one news broadcast…and the fact that the station didn’t “apologize” for footage they aired in the morning until groups and other media outlets expressed outrage by the afternoon speaks volumes.

Apparently Fox-CT is still in damage control mode as news director Coleen they sent out the following email to Romenesko.

As we said yesterday, we sincerely apologize for this unfortunate mistake. An employee, using an automated system, made an error in attaching the file footage from a computer-based system. It was extremely unfortunate but it was the result of human error. We have taken disciplinary action and are implementing training to avoid any errors like this in the future.

FOX CT is extremely sensitive to women’s issues. We are meeting with the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women early next week and will work together to promote the organization’s worthy and valuable mission.

You know some members of the PCSW will have a thing or two to say whenever that meeting with Fox_CT actually transpires.

Teresa Younger, executive director of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, said she was “appalled” by the footage, which she didn’t get a chance to view until late Wednesday following the event.

“I’m pissed,” Younger said.

She said if the female anchor had stopped the broadcast once she saw the footage, the commission would have supported her for stepping up. She said it was a completely inappropriate depiction of women.

“We invite the executives at Fox to ask about our Sexual Harassment Awareness and Prevention trainings, which would help them and their staff learn a little more about what goes on above a woman’s shoulders,” Younger said.

Hey Teresa and the crew at PSCW, here’s some required reading material before you meeting with the clowns at Fox-CT.

A state investigator found “reasonable cause” in former Fox 61 reporter Shelly Sindland’s age and gender discrimination complaint against Tribune Co. last month.

The finding by the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities gives Sindland an opportunity to pursue a public hearing where all the evidence and testimony gathered in the case will be presented again to an administrative law judge.

“I think it’s significant,” Sindland’s attorney Gregg Adler said Tuesday. “They don’t find cause that often.”

[...]

Anita Zakrzewski, a Connecticut CHRO investigator, concluded last month in a 23-page report that “the information gathered through the investigative process reveals that workplace conduct occurred that was unwelcome and offensive.”

Topping the list of unwelcome and offensive for Sindland and former anchors Rebecca Stewart and Susan Christensen was the “Naked News” and “Big Boob Fridays” discussion.

Stewart, who has since left her job at the station, testified during the investigation that she attended a meeting on Jan. 30,2009, in which Fox 61 News Director Robert Rockstroh commented that the Friday newscast looked like “Big Boob Friday.“ According Stewart’s testimony, Rockstroh said the station’s ratings on that day did well because at least one female reporter wore tighter shirts on Fridays. “Hey, whatever works,“ Publisher Richard Graziano commented, according to Stewart.

Stewart also testified that she became an unwilling participant in conversations about the idea of promoting a “Naked News” on April Fools Day during which Stewart, a weekday anchor, would appear to be naked by wearing a flesh-colored top.

[...]

Stewart was removed as weekday anchor shortly after the incident. She testified that she was devastated and angry because she had poured her heart and soul into creating the show. Stewart was replaced by Sarah French, who was 23 at the time.

Stewart testified she believed age was a factor in the station’s decision to transfer her to weekend anchor, a position she considered a demotion. She also believes her objection to the “Naked News” proposal was a factor in her removal.

Trust me, I could go on and on but I think you get the point…

Categories: General

2 Responses

  1. Mr618 says:

    Some of the complaints about Fox would be a little more believable if Ms Hintz had worn a bra. Yes, it is a woman’s right to go braless if she desires, but that diminishes the validity of her complaint.

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