An Emmy and a Sexual Harassment suit – a tale as old as time
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – In 2017, traditionally male dominated industries are not only facing an influx of talented females, but also the reality that their boys clubs are quickly crumbling. Estrella TV is facing allegations of sexual harassment following complaints by two former news anchors. Both female anchors have filed civil suits against Liberman Broadcasting, Inc., the parent company of Estrella TV Network and its Vice Present of News, Andres Angulo, claiming that executives at Estrella TV sexually harassed the two young ladies and that when they complained Estrella TV retaliated against them by terminating their position.
Karla Amezola and Adriana Ruggiero have both filed lawsuits in Los Angeles County against Estrella TV. Amezola was an anchor on the Estrella’s 12 p.m. newscast team, eventually being promoted to full time anchor on their 11 p.m. broadcast, along with their 5 p.m. newscast. During her tenure, Amezola earned an Emmy for her superior work as a journalist. However, Amezola’s star was dimmed once she was terminated after complaining of Angulo’s sexually harassing conduct. Angulo would routinely describe his sexual exploits to Amezola, telling her he was sleeping with six of his Estrella colleagues. For example, Angulo would regularly show Amezola nude pictures of women that he had slept with. Angulo felt empowered to do this because he knew that he could get away with it because he felt Estrella valued him more than other employees. Angulo attempted to use his position of power to entice Amezola to sleep with him, pleading with her by saying “I’m dying to f*ck you.” Angulo went as far as Amezola’s social media, stating “your profile picture that is looking at me with that smile almost diabolically. I like it. And I like you. You have to be more obedient and tame, but I like you.” Angulo’s behavior was so abhorrent that it created a hostile work environment for Amezola, eventually leading to her complaints of sexual harassment and eventual termination.
Ruggiero’s story was much the same. In her complaint Ruggiero stated that she had worked as an anchor for Estrella’s 5:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. newscasts, of which Angulo was the director and Ruggiero’s direct supervisor. While Angulo didn’t make any overt sexual advances toward Ruggiero, Angulo created a hostile work environment for his female subordinates. For example, Angulo told Ruggiero to show more breast on television, Ruggiero knew of a long-standing pattern of sexual harassment Angulo had subjected a fellow female anchor to, and Ruggiero had known that Angulo recently began sexually harassing another female editor. Between the treatment and the hostile work environment that Angulo had maintained, Ruggiero decided to stand up for her fellow employees. She was terminated as a result.
Sexual harassment in the entertainment industry is an ever present problem. Many television executives are finding it difficult to navigate the changing landscape of the industry, and are learning that their behavior is not only morally wrong but illegal. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from sexually harassing employees. New York City Law is far stricter than the federal law, imposing strict liability on the employer when a supervisor engaged in the unlawful, sexually harassing conduct. The theory behind strict liability for supervisors is that the supervisor is a representative of the company and anything the supervisor does is a direct reflection of the company. While Angulo and Ruggiero brought their case in California Courts, sexual harassment isn’t limited to the coasts but is a pervasive problem throughout the entire industry.
If you feel you have been the victim of workplace discrimination or sexual harassment in New York City, Miami, New Jersey or Philadelphia or if your employment rights have been violated, call us at 800-807-2209 for a free consultation to discuss your possible claim. Our attorneys are available to review your claims and prepare a solid case to recover the damages and justice you deserved.