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In the Know/ A LOOK AT THE WEEK AHEAD

Journalist Files Lawsuit Against KCBS

June 10, 2002|Times staff writers

Angela Black was highly visible on the local TV scene during the 1980s at KABC's "Eyewitness News," when she was one of a few female, African American weekday news anchors. Her new role, however, will be that of news subject as opposed to reporter, casting her as the plaintiff in a lawsuit against her most recent employer, KCBS, where she was a general assignment reporter and fill-in anchor.

In a Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit that has been transferred to Federal Court, Black accuses KCBS of racism, age and sex discrimination, retaliation, slander and defamation of character. She claims she was fired without cause or notice in September, less than a year after being hired by the Viacom-owned station. She signed a contract with the station in November 2000, in which the station had an option to extend her agreement two additional years after the first one.

Black, 52, who is holding a news conference this week hoping to generate publicity for her case, is seeking her job back and unspecified damages.

She says most of her difficulties were with the station's former news director, Roger Bell, who left late last year. She had previously worked under Bell during her stint at KABC and said he had also fired her at that station. But Black also contends that KCBS targeted other on-air personalities older than 40 and denied African Americans opportunities as news anchors.

Bell now lives outside California and could not be reached for comment. A spokesman for CBS, the parent of KCBS, said in response to Black's accusations, "The station unequivocally rejects the notion that any kind of discrimination played a role in its relationship with Miss Black, and the station will defend itself accordingly. The fact is Miss Black had a one-year employment agreement with the station, which was not renewed at its conclusion. Miss Black's allegation that the station's decision was discriminatory is simply untrue."

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