Charles Perez claims he was fired for being gay. Sort of.

By : AnitaHeading
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It started with a demotion.

Miami news anchor Charles Perez took the anchor desk at WLPG in September of 2006. On March of this year, Perez was reportedly brought in for a performance review where he was criticized for coming across as “two soft,” smiling at his female co-anchor “like girlfriends,” and not being masculine enough, according to a complaint filed with the Miami Dade Equal Opportunity Board. (Full complaint attached as PDF to this article – link at right.)

In July, he was demoted from weeknight evening anchor to the weekend desk. On July 29, he filed the complaint with the county. A few days later, he was fired.

In a statement released after Perez was let go, WPLG said the decision was based on budgetary concerns.

“This is an outrageous accusation.  As a gay man myself, I can safely say the Station does not discriminate against gay people,” said station VP and news director Bill Pohovey. “It appears he is bent on waging a public relations campaign to destroy the hard earned and long standing reputation of the station as a community leader and an employer of a diverse and inclusive workforce.”

In April of this year, Perez sought a restraining order against his former partner, Dennis Ricardo Peña. He has accused Peña of leaking a private email to the WPLG staff, concerning Perez’s “gender identity issues.”

Perez alluded to the situation in his complaint, saying his demotion was based on “discomfort over the increasingly high profile of my sexual orientation.”

Now, Perez is speaking out via a column called “Why I Committed Career Suicide” for The Daily Beast. He wrote:

“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.”

It was a suggestion that never would have been made to one of my straight colleagues, male or female. The only thing I could take from it was that my profile as a gay man, especially if I were to have kids and, God forbid, get married, would render me less promotable and less advertiser-friendly.

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.”

To me, having the family I want is not pushing it. Living with love, commitment, and dignity is not pushing it.”

Calls to Perez’s attorney have not yet been returned, but keep watching this space for updates as the story continues to unfold.

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