Last week, Daily RFT spoke to fired KMOV-TV (Channel 4) anchor Larry Conners about his potential job prospects -- and the latest in his ongoing legal battles with his former bosses. Conners told us that he is in talks with several possible employers and that he is confident about his hearing next month in his lawsuit against KMOV and parent company Belo Broadcasting.
He has since posted a full statement on his new Facebook page, updating his fairly large group of followers there about the status of his legal action -- and doubling down on allegations that his termination was a clear form of age discrimination.
"KMOV management wanted to get rid of an older anchor and his salary," he writes.
See also: - Larry Conners Says KMOV Paid Him Less Than Vickie Newton Due to Race, Gender - Larry Conners Talks KMOV-TV Firing, Defends IRS Facebook Post - Larry Conners, Fired KMOV Anchor, in Talks for New Gig; Judge Denies Request
Conners was famously terminated in May after writing a controversial post on his Channel 4 Facebook page questioning whether the IRS had targeted him in response to an interview he did with President Obama.
Station officials say they dropped him solely because that commentary violated the journalistic standards of the news organization, but Conners is alleging in court that his employers had been looking for an excuse to get rid of him for quite some time, in part because he alleged age discrimination in a past dispute.
Now, he's arguing that a Facebook policy that the station has cited does not even technically exist. His statement says:
On another front, the [National Labor Relations Board] is expected to rule this month on the union claim that the KMOV Facebook "policy" doesn't exist because the policy was never presented for negotiation; so, if it doesn't exist, how can I be fired for violating such a policy?
Regardless, he emphasizes that, in his view, he was wrongfully terminated, noting that he is moving forward with his Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint: "In other words, do you fire a 66 year old news anchor with 38 years in St. Louis for the "facebook policy infraction"? A suspension, a reprimand, anything short of termination were options short of termination ..."
KMOV's president on Friday declined to comment to Daily RFT while the court battle is pending. In the past, he has repeatedly said that the only reason for Conners' termination was the Facebook post.
In his statement, Conners reiterates the argument he made in an interview with us that it's unfair for KMOV to threaten him with a "non-compete clause" in his contract, because he was terminated and did not leave on his own for another local broadcasting job. He also does not have any proprietary information and is not an owner, he notes.
He has repeatedly said he wants to work in local broadcast again.
Conners also says he is confident a judge will rule in his favor: "For another reason, there are some incidents behind the scenes that can play to our advantage, and for obvious reasons, I can not get into details at this time."
He again references "some events behind the scenes regarding KMOV" but says he can't go into detail...at least not for now!
Here's the new statement in full:
LEGAL UPDATE REGARDING KMOV
As you might have read or heard this last week, there was a new development on my effort to be free to work in my chosen career in St. Louis.
We had filed for a Temporary Restraining Order to prevent KMOV from enforcing the non-compete clause in my contract.
Our reasoning is that I was terminated, did not leave on my own for another local broadcasting job. Another issue is that I don't have proprietary information, and I'm not an owner of Belo Broadcasting or KMOV.
Wednesday, the judge rejected the request for the TRO. She wants a full hearing on the evidence September 3.
Some are seeing this as a set-back, and while I appreciate your concern, this is just part of the process.
A thirty day delay at this stage doesn't mean that much one way or the other, and we are confident that the judge will accept our reasoning.
For one, generally, Missouri courts are against non-compete clauses except in some of the cases I cited earlier.
For another reason, there are some incidents behind the scenes that can play to our advantage, and for obvious reasons, I can not get into details at this time.
We also moving forward with my claim of "age discrimination" filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. That case examines the underlining reason for my termination. In other words, do you fire a 66 year old news anchor with 38 years in St. Louis for the "facebook policy infraction"? A suspension, a reprimand, anything short of termination were options short of termination ... except KMOV management wanted to get rid of an older anchor and his salary.
On another front, the NLRB is expected to rule this month on the union claim that the KMOV Facebook "policy" doesn't exist because the policy was never presented for negotiation; so, if it doesn't exist, how can I be fired for violating such a policy?
By the way, there's an interesting case involving The Chattanooga Times Free Press editorial page editor fired after a headline critical of President Obama. I've attached it for your reading.
There are several other things I was going to post tonight about some events behind the scenes regarding KMOV management and me, but I'm going to hold off those issues ... for now.
In the meantime, thank you for your continued support and prayers.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.