Larry Conners, the longtime anchor who was fired from St. Louis CBS affiliate KMOV, has filed a defamation suit naming the station, general manager Mark Pimentel, news director Sean McLaughlin and parent company Belo Corp.
The suit claims those named in the complaint, “falsely communicated to the public that [Conners'] professional performance was inadequate, poor, and seriously defective.” He also filed an age discrimination suit against KMOV in May.
The veteran anchor was let go in May after writing on his Facebook page he was being targeted by the IRS after a tense interview with President Obama.
You might think he would sour on social media after losing his job of 28 years over what he wrote on Facebook, but Conners has embraced it. He has a new Facebook page titled Larryconnersusa where he posts news and opinion on everything from the potential for US involvement in Syria, to “Obamacare,” to puppy love. Conners has also posted updates on his legal battle with his former station.
TVSpy asked him whether he thought his Facebook activity would hinder his future job prospects. “The hold-up at this point does not involve my views, but rather the non-compete which KMOV/Belo insist on enforcing even though I was fired for a FB posting,” said Conners who claims the non-compete clause prevented him from taking a job in July. “My action was not a reason to terminate someone with 28 years as a Prime Anchor. I didn’t commit a crime or slander someone.”
And as far as future employers shying away from his opinions? He said, “There are broadcast operators in St. Louis interested in my views either way and welcome the ‘talk and reaction audience’ I can generate.” Conners added, “I have no plans to be a ‘TV News Anchor’ in the future, but I do see ‘TV News Commentator’ as well as doing the same on radio.”
The veteran newsman then went on to question his former station letting his replacement Steve Savard anchor the news while acting as the radio play-by-play voice of the St. Louis Rams. “I have nothing against Steve Savard,” said Conners. “But he is the ‘Voice of the St. Louis Rams’ and I pointed out to management that if he were going to continue in that capacity, I wanted the right to be the ‘voice of , image of’ any local institution, university or company that wanted to strike such a deal.”
Conners said KMOV general manager Mark Pimentel disagreed. But Conners said he thinks Savard is breaking his “news anchor contract” by reporting on any story involving the Rams, its players or its owners.
“And we have many mortgage and financial companies that might feel they are not getting a fair shake on news coverage if the Prime Anchor is being paid or ordered to do spots for competitors during Rams’ games,” added Conners. “I was denied the right to do such and yet Steve is allowed to do these spots? Another case of discrimination.”
Conners promised to reveal more in a Facebook post titled, “KMOV: Behind Closed Doors.”