Larry Conners Says KMOV-TV Paid Him Less Than Vickie Newton Due to His Race, Gender

larry-conners-irs.jpg
Larry Conners.
Update below: The saga of former KMOV-TV (Channel 4) news anchor Larry Conners just got a whole lot more complicated.

Since his firing, his attorneys have filed a formal discrimination complaint with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights alleging that his bosses terminated him in retaliation for a dispute he had with the station in 2010 regarding his salary. In that legal battle, Conners writes in the complaint, he had alleged that KMOV was unfairly paying him less than his co-prime anchor, Vickie Newton, "an African-American female; I claimed that I received less compensation than Newtown because of my race and gender."

Since the resulting arbitration against KMOV and parent company Belo concluded in April 2012, Conners alleges in the new complaint, his bosses have treated him differently -- eventually leading to his firing this month.

See also:
- KMOV-TV's Larry Conners Says IRS May Have Been Targeting Him For Years
- Larry Conners Talks KMOV-TV Firing, Defends IRS Facebook Post, Integrity
- KMOV's Larry Conners Off Air After IRS Comments, Says Not Allowed To Talk

The accusations in this formal complaint, sent out by his attorneys this morning, come as quite a surprise just weeks after the Conners controversy erupted.

Two weeks ago, Conners speculated on his Facebook page whether the IRS had targeted him in response to an April 2012 interview he did with President Obama. He later read a statement on-air admitting he had issues with the IRS several years prior and said that his views were his own.

Vickie_Newton.jpg
via kmov.com
Vickie Newton.

Soon after, he was taken off the air temporarily -- and then fired.

Mark Pimentel, KMOV's president and general manager, said the firing was because Conners had violated the journalistic standards of the news organization by taking a stance on a national political story.

Conners, in an interview with us, said that he was forced to read a misleading on-air statement that made him look like a "tax cheat" and said that his problems with the IRS did intensify after the interview with Obama. He also argued that he never compromised his standards as a journalist, given that he was simply raising a question.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for larry-conners-fb.jpg
via Facebook
Larry Conners.

Now, however, it seems his formal complaint has delved into a whole new controversy, alleging that the decision to fire him was direct retaliation for a separate dispute.

The complaint, full document on view below, says, referring to the pay disparity legal battle:

Since that arbitration concluded in April 2012, I have been treated differently by KMOV. Most recent examples include: [News Director Sean] McLaughlin and Pimentel demoted me from prime anchor reporting the news at the 10pm and 5pm and/or 6pm broadcasts to only anchoring the 6pm broadcast, McLaughlin stopped sending me out to field anchor major breaking news stories, Pimentel only offered me a two year contract renewal but effectively only provided me with an additional 16 months of employment.

After returning from medical leave last year, he claims he was demoted to anchoring only the 6 p.m. broadcast.

Further, he argues that before the salary discrimination complaint, he "always discussed current news topics" on his KMOV Facebook page. "However, since my complaints, Pimentel and McLaughlin have severely scrutinized my comments; prevented me from continuing my Facebook discussion about the IRS controversy...directed me to read a statement on air that was inaccurate; blocked my access to my KMOV Facebook page, Twitter and KMOV email accounts...and terminated my employment with KMOV."

He argues that other news staff and anchors were not prohibited from discussing news stories or personal experiences on their KMOV Facebook pages.

He concludes, "As a result of the conduct of KMOV, Pimentel and McLaughlin, I have suffered damages, including but not limited to: lost wages, emotional distress, humiliation, and damage to my good reputation as a news reporter and anchor in the St. Louis regions for the past 37 years."

We left a message for Conners this morning, who is filling in for conservative radio host Dana Loesch. We also left a message for Pimentel, who in a previous interview with us, noted that, just one month ago, KMOV and Conners had signed a multi-year contract. He said, "Clearly, Larry was a part of our longer term plan," essentially arguing that the termination was solely due to the Facebook controversy.

We also reached out to Vickie Newton.

Merle Silverstein, Conners' attorney, declined to comment beyond the complaint.

Update, 3:45 p.m: Daily RFT just heard back from Pimentel this afternoon who denies that the anchor's termination had anything to do with past disputes -- or Conners' age, race or gender.

"We disagree strongly with all of his allegations," Pimentel says.

He also points out the previous gender and race discrimination charges were not merited -- according to a "neutral arbiter," who, Pimentel says, Conners helped select at the time.

"The arbitration process was confidential and private and we honored that," Pimentel says. "But in light of Mr. Conners' election not to, we believe it's appropriate to point out that after a full two days of arbitration, the arbiter found no merit whatsoever to Larry's claims and ruled in favor of KMOV on all counts."

He reiterates, "Larry's recent termination had nothing whatsoever to do with his age, his prior complaints of discrimination or his leaves of absence."

Pimentel says he stands by his previous statements regarding the violation of journalistic standards in Conners' Facebook post. That was the reason for his termination, he says.

Pimentel notes that last month, "KMOV signed Larry to a new, two-year high-salary contract with no pay cut to stay with KMOV and we signed the contract because we valued Larry and we wanted him to stay."

He says that KMOV plans to vigorously defend against the claims and adds, "We've engaged in no wrongdoing."

Here's the full complaint.

Larry Conners EEOC complaint KMOV-TV

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173 comments
Dave Coleman
Dave Coleman

Can I get a big hell yeah if you're as tired as I am about hearing about Larry Connors!

Dana Maness- Stacy
Dana Maness- Stacy

I think that Larry has just insured that he never works in broadcasting again. In St. Louis anyway. Sometimes, it's just best to keep it to yourself.

Misty Donald Ramirez
Misty Donald Ramirez

I think he would have had a stronger argument for age discrimination. Race and gender sound utterly ridiculous.

Daniel Knoll
Daniel Knoll

James, i do agree with you. I know discrimination happens to all kinds of people anywhere and everywhere. That said, I think it's important to acknowledge that Blacks ( or those that support racial equality, regardless of race), these people don't have a history of discriminating against white men. It just seems really 'red-herring'-like for Mr. Connors to, yes, I'll use the term again, play the 'race card', in a follow-up attempt to get sympathy for his case, when it wasn't even relative to the original issue of his dismissal...it just feels dirty to me, inappropriate, and disrespectful to the Black woman anchor he yanked into his predicament. All kinds of people get paid different salaries based on what they bring to the table, and it can and does happen that a Black woman can get paid better for doing SIMILAR work. It is blind to hindsight of the effects of racism to ignore that 200 years ago, a Black person would get just the payment of staying alive to do such work. This is not an excuse for any racist agendas on either end of the discussion, And it's vaguely, ironically racist, and deeply unethical, in my opinion, and a suggestion of his warped values and assests to being an impartial journalist, to allege racism where it didn't matter into the situation to begin with. I'm done with my '2 cents' here, James.

James Madison
James Madison

Perhaps so, but do you condemn all those other false allegations of racism, too? I just have to shake my head when some of my friends claim they got ticketed for DWB (driving while black). That they were going 80 mph never entered the picture, right? We need to be honest. Discrimination happens, and reverse discrimination happens as well. While I support KMOV's right to make an offer of whatever size to whichever employee, we cannot sit here and claim KMOV did not offer more money to a black anchor than to a white anchor. Justified? Perhaps. Connors is not "blatantly desperate as to now try to claim discrimination." He did that in the past as part of the arbitration. He lost. We do not know if the arbitrator agreed no discrimination or justified wages based on demographics or the right of an employer to offer terms for which the employee has to the right to accept or reject. This is not something new. It is only new to you and many others (me included). The facts are dated.

Alex Peck
Alex Peck

Why is st.louis so blind to what is happening in america?Is it your ignorance,high crime,record poverty,highest unemployment in the state?Larry Conners is speaking out against sheeple that are having their rights taken away right under our noses.Guess thats why I left stl years ago..Too bad nothings changed..

Tim Richbourg
Tim Richbourg

Has nothing to do with him being white. Now critical of Obama ...well ...

Mark Bland
Mark Bland

I got a great idea. Larry comes on my radio show and we will ask him some questions.

Daniel Knoll
Daniel Knoll

>>pick your favorite (okay cliche') comeback to Larry-> 'jumping out of the frying pan, into the fire'.. 'way to shoot yourself in the foot"...'open mouth, insert foot'.. or ..'off the deep end'.

Daniel Knoll
Daniel Knoll

I agree completely, but from what I have read about this specific case, it was off base to blatantly desperate as to now try to claim discrimination. The other anchor did not deserve to be used as a pawn in his last-chance-effort.

Matthew Susick
Matthew Susick

Oh yeah, Belo and KMOV station management are notorious for having a deep-seeded hatred of white people.

John Nevettie
John Nevettie

The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don't know anything about. Definition of stupid: (((HOLY SHIT))) MEL GIBSON WAS RIGHT TO BE SCARED... THE JEWS DO CONTROL (IT ALL) THE MEDIA AND DARE YOU (ANTI-SEMITE) TO MENTION IT!!! Example: NBC Today show Matt Lauer - Jewish CBS news (formerly with Katie Couric) - Jewish CNN Wolf Blitzer - Jewish The Daily Show Jon Stewart - Jewish "Some" of the cast for IRONMAN: Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Garry Shandling, and Jon Favreau ALL ARE JEWISH. Hollywood An Empire Of Their Own (1 of 3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2YZws9xYEQ Criminal Rothschilds http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USGSOViaulc

James Madison
James Madison

usually does always apply in a particular incident. Discrimination is discrimination. Reverse or otherwise, and it should never be tolerated

Daniel Knoll
Daniel Knoll

come on Larry, why feed into the untrue racist notion that straight white are actually being discriminated against, when it's far usually the opposite of that.

Eric Peoples
Eric Peoples

Oh, yeah. KMOV is a branch office of the New Black Panther Party. You didn't know that? Lol!

Lisa Burnett Robinson
Lisa Burnett Robinson

So what is he saying, how dare they pay a woman, a Black woman more? Seriously? When KMOV notes the increased ratings with him gone, maybe he'll realize he ain't all that.

Bryan Berger
Bryan Berger

Thats cause she's Hot Larry & Angry old men are a dime a dozen.

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

he makes a ugly bitch for sure

Phoenix Rising
Phoenix Rising

Um, no. White men are routinely paid more than any other group.

davidianstar
davidianstar

Larry Conners can now resume working on campaigning for Todd Akin and being a grand wizard in the STL KKK.

smdrpepper
smdrpepper topcommenter

So in other words, he was already a disruptive employee before his ranting and raving.  Go enjoy your retirement, so you can be all hateful and yell at kids in your yard and the occasional passing cloud.

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

KMOV ought to have the right to hire and fire anyone they want, as well as offer pay as they see fit. Take the job or leave it. HOWEVER, sounds like KMOV really did something stupid here. If Connors Facebook posts were out of bounds for KMOV, why didn't they fire him then? Why did they keep him on the payroll and have him read the stupid statement... then fire him?  KMOV wants to have it both ways. They want us to believe he was fine for a few days, and that they thought the statement THEY wrote was adequate, but when they realized THEIR statement he read was crap, THEY decided to fire him. KMOV either should have fired him immediately, if it was really journalist integrity, or stand by THEIR statement he read (or better yet, never have him read it in the first place). KMOV really screwed this one up.

As far as Connors suit discrimination suit, again KMOV is playing really stupid. After arbitration, they need to honor their contract. They clearly were looking for an excuse. They picked the wrong moment. If KMOV did not like the results of the arbitration, they should have let Connors' contract expired without renewal. Simple and clean. But KMOV chose the more ugly route, and they messed up big time.

Matthew Susick
Matthew Susick

Yeah I've had a lot of respect for him over the years but his antics over the past few weeks have made me realize why KMOV management might not have been too fond of him.

Matthew Susick
Matthew Susick

Larry is destroying his own reputation sounding like a whiny brat.

Lisa Corley Davis
Lisa Corley Davis

Also, the IRS "discriminating" against Tea Partiers by investigating them for tax evasion would be like saying the FBI was "discriminating" against John Gotti by investigating him for being a mobster. It would have been downright stupid not to investigate a group for not paying taxes that names itself for its desire to evade paying taxes. HELLO! It isn't profiling to investigate people for murder who are running around screaming "I LOVE MURDER!" any more than it is to investigate a Tea Partier screaming "I DON'T WANT TO PAY TAXES!" for the slight chance that they might, in fact, not be paying taxes. Enough of this "discrimination" crap, already. It's total and complete BS that only idiots believe.

Blake Harris
Blake Harris

He was on a payment plan and they cancelled it without missing a payment, that's pretty suspicious 5 months after the interview.

Nicholas Reynolds
Nicholas Reynolds

Actually, there is a such thing, stokely carmichael coined the term 70 years ago, so I'm not gonna debate with someone ignorant to history. Also, the IRS always hits you with shit from the years before, are you ignorant of how audits work as well?

Lisa Corley Davis
Lisa Corley Davis

Um... his non-payment of taxes occurred years BEFORE the interview he claimed caused the "harassment" so... No. There is no validity to his claims. Unless the IRS has a time machine that we haven't heard about. And there is no such thing as an anti racist racist. There are racist bigots... and the people who hate them.

Nicholas Reynolds
Nicholas Reynolds

All of you are commenting that he is full of shit, but that's what everyone was saying about the IRS scandal with the conservative groups until they had undenible proof. Remember we live in a society that is always willing to lean towards the belief that racism is one way, white towards blacks, but that's just not the truth anymore. We live in a country beset by the worst kind of racist, anti racist racist.

Jimmie Thomptson
Jimmie Thomptson

Crumpy Cat & me say all you haters go straight to Hell, & spare the rest of us your negative energy...

Rayna Skye
Rayna Skye

I felt bad for him, but now I don't.

timmastin1
timmastin1

Doesn't equality across the board go against his Conservative beliefs. Also the Union he said earlier that he was taking this up with, that doesn't sound Conservative either. Something else to consider is whether or not his contract included a non-controversy clause. If it did, he certainly violated that. And if he simply kept his taxes current he could have avoided the situation entirely. Personal responsibility is a Conservative rally cry, is it not?

folsom530
folsom530

@timmastin1 Controversy is in the eye of the beholder, very subjective.  It's basically an employer free for all excuse clause to can somebody they disagree with.  So it boils down to what is reasonable and what is not.  KMOV acted unreasonably in the minds of thousands of their viewers.  That cannot and will not be ignored.

Your assertion about conservative beliefs being inconsistent with equality is false.  If anyone in society believes in equality it is Conservatives.  Who do you think freed the slaves?  Conservatives backed by the Republican party.  Who pushed for world freedom...the Democrats?  Nupe.  Reagan (Conservative) and Thatcher (Conservative).  Democrats want to hijack more of your money to force equal outcomes, rather than ensure equal opportunities.  The problem with that platform is that people act according to their own free will so attempting to finance equal outcomes by massive wealth redistribution (Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid, higher taxes, bigger government, more regulations) fails every time.  That is why NONE of them have EVER improved the lives of the social class they were intended to help.  There has been no increase in standard of living for the poor despite trillions in spending.  That is the textbook definition of a failed program.  In contrast, private organizations actually make REAL impacts on people's lives in a meaningful way.

adambohn
adambohn

@timmastin1 Off of what do you make the claim he's a conservative?  Because he asked difficult questions of a liberal president?  Let's ignore the difficult questions he asked of a conservative president, so we can make out narrative fit.

Like most places where unions exist, you're mandated to join them.  Because unions are so good at what they do, they require strong arm tactics to get you to join them.

Yes, equality across the board is a conservative belief; however, he's alleging there was not equality under the law.

AreYouReallyThatDumb
AreYouReallyThatDumb

@timmastin1 He's a Conservative. That means all that responsibility crap is only for poor people. They need to stop being deadbeats and start paying their fair share of taxes. But Conservatives - they should pay little to nothing because you know - they do so damn much for this country. Why imagine the country if all the right wingers lost their loopholes alone.  Pure bedlam! If they lost their tax cuts to boot? Heads would start popping. And if they had to pay as a percentage of income that matches what we do - there would be instantaneous  combustion of their brains. Larry got mad because since long before 2008 he was trying to take deductions and avoid his fair share of taxes until being caught in 2008. And it took him almost three more years of stalling before he even entered into a payment plan. It's funny but he never once mentions any of this in his interviews or statements. And his payment plan was likely also cancelled for something else he's forgetting to add in his little story. 

And sadly for MONTHS people have been telling him he needs to chill on KMOV's FB page under his name. He's been on a conspiracy trip for months and that's why he got shit canned. And he's got the gall to cry about Vickie Newton now too? Turtle head, it's time to retire and go away. Go write a conspiracy blog or something.

timmastin1
timmastin1

@folsom530 @timmastin1  The Republican Party was the Liberal wing back in the time of slavery. As far as Reagan and freedom, when the students at Berkeley University tried to exercise their 1st Amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly, Reagan as Governor sent in National Guard troops to stop them and gave the University officials hell for not keeping students in check. He told Military and law enforcement to stop the students by "whatever means necessary". That doesn't exactly sound like a believer in true freedom to me.

timmastin1
timmastin1

@adambohn @timmastin1   I visited the Facebook page enough to know he is a Conservative without a doubt. I did not see him take a position even close to anything else, ever.

As far as the Union thing, just because he was a member didn't mean he had to file a grievance. It was to his possible benefit to do so, and that is all he seems to be concerned with. Self promotion, avoiding tax responsibilities, and he is perfectly willing to abandon his Conservative principals if they interfere in that agenda.

AreYouReallyThatDumb
AreYouReallyThatDumb

@adambohn @timmastin1 Let me share this from the post below. This is what people who are defending him say:

"
He is a conservative minded independent, and none of the people at KMOV think that way. "

Everyone knows. If you had read his FB posts any time in the past year or so you wouldn't even have to ask.

As far as 'equality' under the law Connors had failed to properly pay his taxes as far back as 2005. In 2008 he got nailed for it and then took almost three more years before he started paying any of it back which started in 2011. He never mentions ANY of this except in records he has no control over. He is a flagrant violator and almost 8 years into it all of a sudden thinks there is some plot to take him down...then even cries racial discrimination because Vickie Newton made more than him? Quiet cries of desperation.

folsom530
folsom530

@AreYouReallyThatDumb @timmastin1 Nah - wrong.  You falsely define Conservatives.  Liberal progressive scum are the ones who practice soft bigotry of low expectations by assuming no poor person has VALUES like hard work, determination, self-reliance.  I know more poor conservative people who are the happiest people around.  It's the poor liberals who are disgruntled and entitled to a higher extent than the poor conservatives.  In the Aldi store the poor folks from the rural farm communities are just as poor but somehow cheery and more positive, and bound to improve their lives.  Not so with inner city entitled liberals.

AreYouReallyThatDumb
AreYouReallyThatDumb

@timmastin1 @adambohn I'm just curious why he doesn't get that Vickie Newton was HOT and did a really good job and as another poster mentioned below - once HD came out Larry just looked like a big huge liver spot in the middle of a very young news staff. The only other old fart at KMOV in his range is Robin Smith.


timmastin1
timmastin1

@folsom530 @adambohn @AreYouReallyThatDumb @timmastin1   There has been a Federal Income tax since 1862, first instituted because of the Civil War. Prior to that, there were 1 room School houses, hospitals were not that numerous, there was no Interstate highway system, the Military was much smaller,etc. How well do you think you would function if our infrastructure was pre Civil War standards?

folsom530
folsom530

@adambohn @AreYouReallyThatDumb @timmastin1 Hey trolls, the government didn't use to collect ANY income taxes and somehow we had hospitals, assistance for the poor, education systems, and infrastructure that kept pace with industrial development.  Your piranha like comments are indicative of just how hooked you are on the narcotic substance that is big government.

AreYouReallyThatDumb
AreYouReallyThatDumb

@adambohn @AreYouReallyThatDumb @timmastin1 The problem is HE IS A TAX CHEAT. And while I see the point the simple issue is you cannot use someone elses properties to discuss your personal issues in any way, shape or form. Even if it was a mistake people get fired for making mistakes all the time. With unpaid taxes as far back as 2008 how can you not call him a tax cheat? He tried to take deductions he is not allowed to. Ironically the IRS story also doesn't mention that these 'Tea Party' and 'Conservative' groups were applying for a tax exemption that is intended for CHARITIES which is why they were targeted for investigation. None provide any type of charitable work. And ironically...the man running the IRS at the time was appointed by George Bush so it's not liberals as Larry also says. But it is funny because in 2008 the GOP used the very same IRS to investigate ACORN, NAACP, ACLU and several unions but there was no outrage at all then. 


adambohn
adambohn

@AreYouReallyThatDumb @adambohn @timmastin1 See, except for the fact that he acknowledges the tax issues.  Well, when he's able to acknowledge it (i.e. when KMOV doesn't force him to read a set of incredibly misleading statements).  His question was whether the sudden cancellation of the payment plan in September 2012 might have anything to do with his interview (he even said he had no proof nor was making an assertion).  Never made an attempt to hide it, but he didn't think it relevant at the time of the posting.  And with the talking points he was forced to read, people who aren't interested in following up with the story will think he's making much about nothing since he's a tax cheat.

folsom530
folsom530

@timmastin1 @folsom530 @AreYouReallyThatDumb Actually quite a bit longer.  It has NOTHING to do with locale.  It has EVERYTHING to do with upbringing, values, morals, and attitudes.  Rural people have arguably MORE stressors on their lives.  Their medical care is worse, their incomes are worse, life is much harder when you don't have community centers, charities, and hospitals all within walking distance...duh.  Obvious, but you missed it.

timmastin1
timmastin1

@folsom530 @AreYouReallyThatDumb @timmastin1  Rural people live differently than we do in the city. In the city, the order of the day is crowds, traffic jams, higher cost of living, and crime. Stress has a lot to do with people's disposition. If rural people and city people traded situations, how long do you think the rurals would maintain that sunny outlook?

AreYouReallyThatDumb
AreYouReallyThatDumb

@folsom530 @AreYouReallyThatDumb @timmastin1 Are you referring to those rural farm families that get farm subsidies from the taxpayers? 

Of course you are. All the inner city liberal I know have jobs and work. Not so with the few conservative friends I know. Most just sit around crying that all the policies of the GOP put them in the poor house. Remember something - 99% of what happens in this country happens from legislation in Congress. The President does not write laws, adjust taxes or have any control over spending. Read the definition of President if you doubt this. So everything people like you cry about in regards to Obama is actually the fault of Congress. Maybe that's why on Fox News their own poll shows Obama with a steady 48% approval rating among Fox viewers...and only 13% for the GOP Congress. Even smart conservatives realize where the real problem is and it's not and never was Obama. 


AreYouReallyThatDumb
AreYouReallyThatDumb

@ProVergent @AreYouReallyThatDumb @timmastin1 I'd expect that anyone who fails to pay almost 100,000 in taxes to face added scrutiny or even jail time. Even though it was 20 years ago I was arrested for tax evasion because I failed to pay taxes on 520 bucks I earned as a subcontractor. If I go to jail for such a minimal amount I expect every single person to be treated the same. Political party or affiliation means nothing when it is something every working class person in this country is required to do.


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