To Bay Area radio listeners, Christine Craft is a popular liberal talk show host and attorney on KGO 810.
But in 1981, she was an anchor on a Kansas City TV station which demoted her to reporter because a focus group determined she was “too old, too unattractive and wouldn’t defer to men.”
The lawsuit she filed rocked the TV news business. She prevailed at two jury trials, but a federal appeals court overturned her victory and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case. Still, her case opened doors for women in broadcast journalism and Craft has become a legend in the business.
Now, two decades later, three Kansas City female TV news personalities are suing the very same station Craft sued, according to an article in the KCTribune. And their claims are similar, too. The three said in their lawsuit that female anchors are “oppressively criticized, targeted and harassed after they reach their 40s.”
The KCTribune reporter described the case as “de javu,” and even called Craft for a few comments.
“I think my case made a lot of difference for women,” Craft told the KCTribune. “No women over the age of 40 were anchors in 1980,” she said.
The article also says:
- Craft, who was raised a surfer girl in Santa Barbara, returned to the state following the Kansas City station fiasco, relishing the idea that her appearance didn’t matter on radio. She beat out Maureen Reagan for a job as a talk-show host at the same station that spawned conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh [KFBK Sacramento].
While Craft admits that her experiences with the 1980s suit somewhat helped influence her decision to become an attorney who fights for employee rights, she said it was a love of law and courts and a need for more ammunition, that led her to the courtroom. “I wanted to have a few extra skills on my side,” she said.
(Photo credit: KCTribune)