By Rosetta Miller Perry
NASHVILLE, TN — America is a nation obsessed with youth. So much of what is shown on television, in films and aired on radio caters to young folks. Once a person hits 50, let alone 60, many jobs decide that they’ve become a liability despite the fact in many instances they have experience and knowledge that is gained only through being around long enough to learn valuable lessons and work through problems and mistakes.
Demetria Kalodimos has been a valuable and popular part of the Nashville journalistic and filmmaking scenes for over 30 years. During that time she’s immensely contributed to the WSMV-4 audience’s knowledge and understanding of critical and complex local, regional, national and international issues through diligent, objective and intelligent reporting and analysis.
Kalodimos made just one mistake in the eyes of Meredith Corporation, the folks who currently run WSMV-4. She’s not youthful any more. In their eyes she is a burden rather than an asset, no matter how thorough and highly professional she is on the air, and in the performance of her job. So their reward to Demetria Kalodimos for thirty-plus years of service was a cursory dismissal a few weeks ago, done via a one page letter left at the Channel 4 reception desk. No going away party or testimonial, no plaque or certificate recognizing her contributions to the city and the station, just a dismissive piece of paper and a contemptuous desire to get her off the property as fast as possible.
Thankfully, Kalodimos isn’t just going to take that without response. She’s filed a lawsuit against Meredith Corporation and WSMV-4, alleging gender and age discrimination, a hostile workplace, retaliation, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of contract, and unlawful restraint of trade. She’s seeking among other things front and back pay, plus exemplary and punitive damages. She’s enlisted the services of a national law firm, Lieff Cabraser Hermann & Bernstein, who announced the lawsuit’s filing November 28 in federal district court downtown.
For those who think this is just a personal attempt at revenge, Demetria Kalodimos has been fighting the battle against gender and age discrimination well before this happened. She’s been a public and on-air advocate for older news personalities and women, and she’s also spoken out against stereotypical and sexist attitudes expressed towards younger women as well. “When I made the decision to devote my career to Channel 4, I never dreamed I would have to bring a lawsuit in order to do my job,” she said last week. “Effective news anchors personify trust for their organizations and committed journalists expose wrongdoing, even if it’s happening under their own roof. If this can happen to me, after decades of dedication and sacrifice, I know it can happen to anyone, and I certainly don’t want that to be my legacy.”
What makes this even more disgusting and disappointing is the stellar professional record of Demetria Kalodimos. She’s won 16 national Emmy Awards, plus three national Investigative Reporter and Editor (IRE) Awards, a pair of Edward R. Murrow Awards for investigative reporting, and three National Headliner Awards for starters. Add a couple of American Women in Radio and TV Awards, the 1997 AP Broadcaster of the Year honor, and multiple other citations and honors. She’s a 2016 inductee in the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame, and has also been awarded the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Silver Circle for lifetime career achievement.
Just to show how utterly ignorant Meredith Corporation is in terms of audience awareness, right after they made the ultra-dumb decision to terminate her, Kalodimos won a third IRE award and two months before that she was voted once more both Best Local Reporter and Best Local TV News Personality in the Nashville Scene’s annual Best Of poll. Channel 4 has reportedly lost between 10 and 20 percent of its news audience including the Tennessee Tribune and its supporters since making that idiotic decision.
The Tribune salutes Demetria Kalodimos who served as an important role in society by informing the public of events happening locally, nationally and internationally. The Tribune also greatly values and honors her advocacy on behalf of all those mistreated, maligned and unfairly cast aside by corporate bigwigs with no sense of community or fairness. We are delighted and proud to select Demetria Kalodimos as the Tribune’s Person of the Year for 2018.
Rosetta Miller Perry opened the first United States Equal Employment Opportunity Office in Nashville and served as Director. The Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.