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News producer accused of sex misconduct was fired because he’s a man: suit
By Joshua Rhett Miller
A former employee at a Connecticut TV station is suing the ABC affiliate’s parent company, claiming he was singled out because he’s a man after three female colleagues accused him of sexual misconduct, a gender discrimination lawsuit claims.
Micah Bailey, a 26-year-old former news producer at WTNH in New Haven, alleges in a 61-page lawsuit filed Friday in US District Court for the District of Connecticut that he was “discriminated against because he is a male” after a reporter and an editor claimed he had inappropriate physical contact with them.
But Bailey claims both women were flirtatious with him and that a kiss during a date in February 2018 with reporter Amy Hudak was consensual, according to the lawsuit, which was first reported by the Connecticut Law Tribune.
“Amy never said ‘no,’” the lawsuit alleges. “She consensually kissed him.”
Bailey later met with a human resources employee who told him that Hudak also accused him of giving her an unwanted kiss on the cheek a month earlier, according to the lawsuit, which claims that never actually happened.
But management at the station “cut him off” while trying to explain the incidents, accusing him of taking advantage of a woman who was “just looking for a friend in a time of need,” according to the lawsuit.
“[Managers] did not treat Amy in this same disrespectful manner,” the lawsuit states. “She was listened to and believed without question. Plaintiff was treated differently because he is male.”
Bailey even offered to show managers text messages he exchanged with Hudak prior to their date, but they refused, his lawsuit claims.
Months later, Bailey kissed an editor named Alexandra Conroy in her car in the station’s parking lot. Bailey claimed the encounter was consensual, but he was told by station managers that yet another female employee made complaints about him.
“Zero threat, zero harassment, no one said, ‘No,’ or ‘Stop,’’’ according to the lawsuit. “Those words were never spoken and Alex was clearly participating equally in the physical contact.”
Bailey was later suspended for two weeks without pay before being fired by the station based on “new evidence” from a former news producer who claimed she had received questionable text messages from him, according to the lawsuit,
“This was a completely false and ridiculous accusation because plaintiff has zero history with Nobile outside of a co-worker relationship/friendship,” the suit claims. “This ‘new evidence’ was entirely fabricated.”
The lawsuit, which seeks compensatory and punitive damages, named WTNH’s parent company, Nexstar Broadcasting, as a defendant. Elizabeth Ryder, Nexstar’s general counsel, did not immediately return a message seeking comment Wednesday.
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