The testimony was akin to legal fireworks, as WPIX weekend anchor Kaity Tong appeared as a witness in the age discrimination trial of her former news director.
Tong, who turned 65 this week, was in Manhattan Criminal Court yesterday to defend Karen Scott, and promptly told lawyers that she was also singled out because of ageism.
Tong recounted a meeting with then-station GM Betty Ellen Berlamino (now GM at WLNY), who was Scott’s superior, according to the Daily News.
She said Berlamino criticized her performance and cut her salary “rather dramatically.” Tong, the former PIX co-anchor (with Jim Watkins) added, “I was devastated, surprised, hurt, and I thought it was baseless. I was blindsided.”
Tong, a New York mainstay in the mid 1980s at WABC, believed she was given a bad review and the pay cut because “they were setting the groundwork to eventually get rid of me because of my age.”
Tong was moved to weekends at WPIX after the new regime took over, specifically Bill Carey as news director.
As for Scott, she was let go two months after Tong met with Berlamino. She was 60 at the time.
Under cross-examination by WPIX attorney Edward Cirasia, the Daily News reports, Tong was questioned if she knew for a fact that her poor review was connected to age.
“I don’t know for a fact, but I have a very strong feeling it was,” she responded.
WPIX points to a combination of bad ratings and lower revenue as the reason for Scott’s dismissal.
In her $4.5 million lawsuit, Scott alleges Berlamino told her in 2009 that Tong was “too old to be an anchor” and made an ageist remark about WPIX veteran reporter Marvin Scott. Scott, who is 74, also was in court yesterday.
Photo credit: New York Daily News