News Anchor Claims He Was Fired For Complaining About Studio Filth

Craig Wolf fired news anchor FloridaAfter more than 17 years with Southwest Florida station WBBH-TV, anchorman Craig Wolf was fired, and told to leave the building in half an hour. "It came out of nowhere," he said at the time. But Wolf thinks he's solved the mystery. He filed a lawsuit against his former employer, Waterman Broadcasting, claiming that his dismissal was illegal retaliation for a complaint he had made about the office's cleanliness.

In the lawsuit, Wolf describes the carpeting under the anchor desk as "caked with dust, dirt and the residue left by more than 10 years of cosmetics," and the newsroom floor as "greasy, grimy and covered in dust balls and a thick layer of dirt," reports The News-Press, a Southwest Florida newspaper. In 2006, Wolf says he began to "cough uncontrollably" when he entered the news studio, as did dozens of other employees.

Wolf complained on numerous occasions in 2009 and 2010, according to the lawsuit, but nothing was done. Instead, managers installed "cough buttons" that temporarily disabled anchors' microphones for whenever they felt an itch in their throats.

"Instead of addressing the underlying cause of why people were sick, they decided to mute the symptoms by installing a cough button that shut off our microphones whenever we would get the urge to cough, which was every few minutes," Wolf said. "That really bothered me."

In October 2010, Wolf filed an anonymous complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In March 2011, Wolf's manager told him that he would not be renewing his contract, which was set to expire at the end of August.

Wolf and his lawyer, Chuck Phoenix, now insist that the dismissal was retaliation, which is illegal under the Florida Whistleblower Act, and that his former employer has blocked Wolf from other anchor jobs in the region, forcing his family to resettle in Nashville, Tenn.

"Obviously, the employer retaliated and fired him, which is quite shocking considering the fact that this company is in the journalism business," Phoenix said.

Steven Pontius, the general manager and executive vice president of Waterman Broadcasting, told The News-Press that he wasn't aware that the lawsuit had been filed, and that Wolf's dismissal was "a performance-related issue."

But others doubt that poor performance could be the cause. "Nothing in this business really surprises me, but this was a surprise," said former anchor Jim McLaughlin, who competed at WINK-TV against Wolf for ratings. "He's been a mainstay for so long. He was a worthy opponent. We battled each other for a long time. He was a great guy, did a great job on the air and I always enjoyed competing against him because he was a class act."

Wolf claims that the dismissal was not only a hit to his finances, but also to his reputation in the industry, and among the public. He is seeking a jury trial and damages in excess of $15,000.







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Anna Rose

Sue the bastards.

November 25 2012 at 5:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Anna Rose

Where does it say in the Constitution, I or anyone else is not allowed to express thier opinion? This is still America.

November 25 2012 at 5:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Anna Rose

Because Craig Wolf expressed his personal opinion, which he had every right to do, it was wrong. Are we no longer allowed to express how we feel about an issue?

November 25 2012 at 5:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
palidyn

facebook, what a piece of crap

November 24 2012 at 7:10 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to palidyn's comment
Anna Rose

You can bet your life on that.

November 25 2012 at 5:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
palidyn

lol figer, videos been removed

November 24 2012 at 7:09 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
xak999

Well in THAT case, I'd like to know what could be so terribly offensive that these videos were 'removed 'by the user'? Seems we all want to check out something based on a video only to find it rather conveniently 'removed by the user.' I mean, who else but the user could possiblyl have it removed, right?

March 08 2012 at 12:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
xak999

I bet I can't comment unless I'm on facebook, huh?

March 08 2012 at 12:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to xak999's comment
Anna Rose

Yes you can & please do.

November 25 2012 at 5:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
captivans

Craig Wolf was the anchor at my local news station so my opinion is related to his actual performance. He was there for many years and was well respected for his work. His days with Jim Syoen as his weather were the best local news I have had the pleasure to view. He was very active in community projects. I may have been away when it happened, because I recall no mention of his leaving, just a void in quality local news. (Kellie, you still rock) From what I understand, Waterman Broadcasting owns two of the three local news stations and their stations are known to be filty and their people never paid what they deserve. From what I hear a cashier at Publix can make more than some producers... sad. Craig was too good to put up with substandard work conditions, I have no idea where he went, but they are lucky to have him.

March 07 2012 at 10:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Boots

No union there, too bad.

March 07 2012 at 6:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
the builder

NEVER CEASES TO AMAZE ME AS TO HOW MANY THIN SKINS LIVE OUT THEIR AND WAIT FOR A WORDS THAT THEIR KIDS HAVE HEARD MANY TIMES AT HOME AND IS USED AS A SECOND TYPE DESCRIPTION WHEN THINGS GO WRONG IN SCHOOL AND IN TNEIR DAILY CONVERSATION, C'MON ALL YOU CANDY ARSES LOOSEN UP . I KNOW THE POWERS AT THE STATION MUST HAVE PEED IN THE DIAPERS WHEN SOME ONE WOKE THEM UP FROM THEIR NAP AND POINTED FINGERS. GOD!!!!! WHAT IS THIS SOCIETY COMING TO WHEN YOU HEAR THE WORD F--K OR FORNICATE . EITHER WAY THIS VETERAN GOT SCREWED WITH OUT A KISS. SHAME ON ALL THE WUSSIE BOSSES WHO THINK THEY JUST SAVED THEIR JOBS, THEIR FAUX PAS WILL BE COMMING , ITS NATURES WAY,CIOA

March 07 2012 at 5:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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