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Waller Files Discrimination Lawsuit Against KTLA-TV

Television: The veteran journalist, who is still working at the station, says she was demoted from her anchor positions because of age and gender.


KTLA-TV Channel 5 journalist Marta Waller filed a discrimination lawsuit against the station Tuesday, claiming that she was demoted from her anchor duties by management because of her age and gender.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, names KTLA, the station's owner Tribune Broadcasting Co., General Manager John Reardon and news director David Goldberg as defendants, and seeks unspecified damages for Waller, who is still working at the station as a reporter.

Reardon and other KTLA executives could not be reached for comment.

Waller, 44, who has been been at KTLA since December 1984 and earned accolades for anchoring the station's gavel-to-gavel coverage of the O.J. Simpson criminal murder trial, said in the lawsuit that she was demoted last September from her anchor duties on the station's noon newscast, which she had held since March 1995, when the newscast was first established.

Waller said she was replaced by reporter Michele Ruiz, who she called "younger and less experienced." The newscast has since been moved to 11 a.m.

In addition, Waller said she was removed a few weeks later as co-anchor of the "KTLA News at Ten," a position she had held since October 1995. She claimed in the lawsuit that news director Goldberg told her he was demoting her because "we have a gender problem." The lawsuit said that Goldberg had asserted that "News at Ten" anchor Hal Fishman "did not feel comfortable sharing his anchor duties with a woman."

Waller's attorney, James De Simone, said, "This is a clear case of KTLA looking at a 44-year-old anchor and deciding to get rid of her before she continued to age."

The lawsuit said that Waller filed a complaint with KTLA's human resources department last February and also complained to management, but that the response was to exclude her from high-profile stories such as the verdict in the Simpson civil case.

In a statement released Tuesday, Waller said, "I am concentrating full time on my job. This civil suit is something I felt I had to pursue. I value my career and my experience at KTLA, and will not allow the lawsuit to interfere with my job."

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