BY STEVE ROTHAUS, [email protected]
Ex-WPLG-Channel 10 anchor Charles Perez's complaint against the station -- that management fired him because he is gay -- has been dismissed.
"I have satisfactorily resolved all my differences with the company,'' says Perez, who won't elaborate on whether there was a financial settlement.
WPLG fired Perez just after he filed a complaint with Miami-Dade County's Equal Opportunity Board. At the time, station news director Bill Pohovey angrily denied Perez's claims. "This is an outrageous accusation,'' Pohovey said in a statement. "As a gay man myself, I can safely say the Station does not discriminate against gay people.''
Perez, 47, just self-published a memoir, Confessions of a Gay Anchorman, which he sells via his website, www.no-shame.org, and at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
Shortly after he succeeded Dwight Lauderdale as WPLG's main co-anchor, Perez's career imploded two years ago amid a bad public breakup with an ex-boyfriend.
Perez says he knew that someday his sexual orientation could become public knowledge.
"My professional life and my being a gay man were two cars on the road headed for collision," he says. "I was supposed to be a product with the least amount of liabilities and being gay was a liability."
In his book, Perez names major network news anchors he says are gay.
Perez says he's not worried about getting sued.
"At the end of the day I did my due diligence," he says. "Truth is the best defense. As long as what you said is true, you’ve got no problem."
If anyone is upset by his book, Perez says, get over it.
"It may ruffle some feathers, but come on. This isn’t 1986. From Glee to Rachel Maddow to Oprah. The conversation has changed."
Besides, he says, "you can’t out somebody for something that’s good – or not a pejorative. You can’t out someone for having blue eyes. If I say Anderson Cooper has blue eyes, what’s the big deal?"
Despite his anchor career being ruined, Perez says he has no regrets about the past two years.
Perez says he and Rinehard adopted Madeline in the Midwest because at the time Florida banned gay people from adopting. "Who’d have thought Kansas would be more progressive than Florida," Perez says.