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The only way someone can have power over another is if you let them. The most obvious way for a woman to achieve success is to be too busy with a photoshoot, creating a product, or promoting a product to be too busy to care about anyone besides herself and any future success. Clearly Hollywood’s movie producer Henry Weinstein and CBS’s Charlie Rose convinced many women they held this power over him.
Before we discuss one juicy situation in the entertainment world that is local broadcast journalism I would like to take this global controversy and applaud all of the men in my career who have done nothing except encourage me, support me and showcase my gifts and natural talents.
From my days as an intern I worked with KTVT’s Jay Gormley, Mike Tobin. Steve Pickett. WTSP’s anchorman Reginald Roundtree and Craig Patrick. During the Monica Lewinsky President Clinton scandal I was Reginald Roundtree’s intern. The anchorman, a former Miami cop had a series which captured all ratings, “Get Out Alive”. The news team joked on me being an “intern” yet Reggie was nothing but a trusted and sincere mentor. He walked up to me on my first day and said, “I have never seen this type of work from an intern. Not on their first day.” I was editing a package I had shot with Elaine Quijano from North Tampa on flooding and was standing in the middle of the flood waters in her galoshes. He was a gem and kept the entire production crew after hours so I could shoot my anchor demo tape cheering me on all the way. A true pro.
That tape allowed me to score an anchor position while in college aired on public television after the BBC. From there I returned to Ohio and was named the morning and noon anchor and cooking show host at WHIZ AM FM TV. Again, I have nothing but great memories of George Hiotis, Jeff Ball, Brian Wagner, and the entire WHIZ TV sales team.
Later across the Mississippi River KMEG GM Brian McDonough, anchorman Larry Wentz, sports directors Matt Pearl, Travis Morgan, and meteorologists Brooks Garner, Jim Nichols and Jeff Robbins were all downright dynamite to have as colleagues and friends.
Don’t forget THE man Mark Hall was in the building, too and even though Tedd O’Connell was eccentric he was not unprofessional in a degrading manner.
KGAN’s Joe Denk and reporters Chris Jones, and Bigad Shiban were on point professionals.
This shop did house a perpetrator who we are going to swing back to momentarily.
My list of true professional gentlemen, friends, colleagues, advisers and confidantes goes on. WOIO’s Dan Salamone, Tony Zarrella, Mark Schwab, Brian Duffy, Dan DeRoos, Paul Orlowsky, Jeff Tanchak.
From the anchor desk to my own newsroom. The experience I had with professional men was all professional and the men of Monroe County were my biggest cheerleaders. They took the time to introduce me to their friends, invited me into their circles of political influence and told their buddies of my professional capabilities, my plight and that thy were all going to be on board helping me make waves. These men are Greg Sullivan, Chris Trentine, Ed Kokonis, Dave Keller, John Keller, John Mirabella, Daniel Samess, Bascom Grooms IV, Mike Puto, Jim Wilson, Frederique and Chad Salinero, Bob Chinnis, Roy Coley, Frank Toppino, Sheriff Rick Ramsay and his Sergeant Gene Thompson, Tony Yaniz, Matt Babich, Shawn Smith, Jim Scholl, Ron Demes, Craig Cates, Mark Rossi, Lou Caputo, Armando Gonzalez, Steve Robbins, Jim “Big Daddy” Smith, Judge Tegon Slaton, Cale Smith, Captain DeQuattro, Fred Hidelbrandt, the late Manny Madruga, John Dick, Barry Gibson, Clayton Lopez, Jimmy Weekley, Rick Freeburg, Henry Rosenthahl, Keith Harris, Ronnie Acevedo with his wine donations for my endless back-to-back non-profit plights, Bob Eadie and John DeNeale just to name a few.
Let’s definitely not leave out the guidance and support of my confidante Roman Gastesi.
These men are true gems and true gentlemen acting with nothing but professionalism.
However, let’s swing back to CBS 2 News. From the moment I began my tenure, I wished I was in the Florida Keys. There was a predator in the newsroom sharing the anchor desk with me.
The week I was to leave to interview Katie Couric in New York City to promote her new position as the nation’s first evening anchorwoman, the news director, my mentor, brought me into his office to discuss the fact that, “the weekend anchor has come to management to let them know (co-anchor) came in and cornered her in an edit bay and came on to her.”
They were flying me across the country with him. Bass Advertising edited him out of this photo taken in NYC.
I was on edge but I know how to handle myself. He did nothing odd from a sexual advancement standpoint, but in the newsroom he threw tantrums, yelled at me, cut me out of small talk, attempted to sabotage my tosses to breaks and was basically what myself and management decided was “a big baby”.
So, I told him so. I also stood up for myself and truly stood on my own two feet and told him how this was going to work.
He never bothered me again. Eventually was fired for making advances on the production crew women and the weekend anchor. My family and circle never thought anything of the unfolding of events when I announced, “My co-anchor was fired for sexually harassing the weekend anchor who was married and all of the women on the production crew.”
One has to know where they are at. We were there to write and deliver the evening news. Important work and we are dealing with people’s reputations.
I can not stress this enough. We are not there to make each other feel better by bringing in homemade baked bread.
I was brought up in the same household as the most powerful publisher and newsman in the nation’s southernmost county. He taught me not to take shit from anyone. Standing six foot six and antagonizing me and pushing me my entire life, I learned not to.
I do not have a time in my life where I did not know how to stand up to a man. Any man. In any situation. No matter what work I was performing, which newscast I was delivering, what my attire was, how much alcohol was involved, which island I was on… I could go on on this subject forever.
At a young age women should be taught at home, what to say, how to handle themselves, how to protect themselves, and to be confident in the fact that yes, we are women. If push comes to shove be fearless. I was taught how to say such things as the quote below. Never was I to back down, play a victim, or wallow in the unfairness of life.
Let’s not forget I just spent A LOT of time working on a remote island only accessible via helicopter, plane, boat or ferry for a former politician and largest developer of the Lake Erie Islands surrounded by exotic rum, and living in a two-bedroom condo he gave me. Zero unprofessional behavior from him because I was a woman. All of the other men there, working as bartenders — also great guys supporting the plight to make the resort a success and they were even youngsters from third world countries, plus Matt Anderson, Steven Drescher, and Eric Abranovich. I was in the trenches with them to drive business. I was also doing this in swimwear and resort wear. Zero inappropriateness.
This is a lot of heady company. Reread the list. Reginald Roundtree. Ed Gudenas. These are heavy heavy hitters and men of power with money to burn. These are a lot of unconventional workplaces. I wear a lot of swimwear. Even as of late, working for two more developers out of Perrysburg, they violated the dollar value of my work and simply could not afford my media buffet of services, but, nonetheless acted as gentlemen. The same with the store manager and assistant store manager I am in the trenches with now, Plus my producer and photographer — they are all top-notch.
As we bring the situation of sexual harassment to light let’s also bring to light the what we are working to do. The CBS News (WTSP- Tampa Bay) Business Manager told me as an intern in 1998, “Do not bring baked goods into the newsroom. Ever. While you are working. No one will ever respect you. You are here to deliver the news.”
Predator men should be shamed for their inappropriate behavior. Other business associates absolutely do NOT have to take on the responsibility to teach women how to handle themselves in business situations. We are not there to go on a date. We are there to work and to make money. Once women understand this men react as I just outlined.