Gay news anchorman wins restraining order against former partner

PinkNews Staff Writer August 24, 2009
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An American TV news presenter at the centre of allegations of workplace discrimination has been granted a two year restraining order against his former boyfriend.

Charles Perez, 46, has claimed ABC in Miami (WPLG) took him off the nightly bulletin and pushed him onto the weekend editions because of publicity about his sexuality.

He was fired earlier this month after filing a discrimination suit.

Mr Perez claimed in a family court hearing that Dennis Pena, 42, had previously sexually assaulted him and threatened him with violence, charges Mr Pena denies.

A judge issued a two-year restraining order.

Mr Perez claims that the public falling out between the former couple was one of the reasons WPLG demoted him.

The Miami Herald reported that in March an email “between Perez and a Los Angeles family therapist to everyone in the anchor’s electronic address book, including his employers.

“In the e-mail, Perez said he needed counseling for gender identity issues.”

Mr Perez has accused Mr Pena of sending the email.

In a column for the Daily Beast, Mr Perez wrote: “Bottom line, I believe they (WPLG) sold me out as soon as my being gay became too widely known.

“It made them uncomfortable and made me, in their eyes, less advertiser-friendly.”

Mr Perez also accused station bosses of discouraging him from getting married and having children.

He wrote: “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.'”

The station has denied Perez’ claims. WPLG news director Bill Pohovey called the allegations outrageous.

More: Americas, Employment

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