KTLA anchor Mark Mester fired after emotional on-air protection of Lynette Romero

KTLA fired information anchor Mark Mester Thursday afternoon, days after he was suspended following an off-script phase through which he criticized the station’s dealing with of his co-anchor Lynette Romero’s abrupt departure, in keeping with a number of staff on the station.

The station’s common supervisor, Janene Drafs, introduced the firing with a short speech throughout a gathering within the newsroom round 1:15 p.m., saying, “[Mester] is now not at KTLA5,” staffers who have been current for the announcement advised The Occasions Thursday.

The KTLA website now not lists Mester on its roster of reporters and anchors.

Final week, KTLA introduced that Romero, a longtime anchor of its in style weekend morning present, had left the station with out saying goodbye to viewers, drawing extensive outrage and criticism.

“After almost 24 years, Lynette Romero, our pal Lynette, has determined to maneuver on from anchoring our weekend morning information,” Pete Saiers, the station’s information director, wrote in a press release that was learn by leisure reporter Sam Rubin during a Sept. 14 segment.

“KTLA administration had hoped she would keep right here her total profession, and KTLA labored exhausting to make that occur,” Rubin added. “However Lynette has determined to maneuver to a different alternative elsewhere. Lynette, we want you luck, we miss you and we thanks for every thing you’ve accomplished for KTLA. … On behalf of everybody right here, we want you and your loved ones nothing however one of the best.”

Saiers later stated that administration had hoped Romero would report a farewell message to viewers, however she declined.

In line with station sources who requested to stay nameless, Romero now not needed to work weekends and had requested administration to permit her to work a weekday anchor shift so she might spend extra time together with her household, however she was advised there have been no openings. She reportedly has been employed at KNBC, L.A.’s NBC affiliate, as one in every of its weekday morning present anchors, sources stated.

Romero didn’t instantly reply to The Occasions’ request for remark.

Throughout Saturday’s weekend morning present, Mester, Romero’s co-anchor, went off script with an emotional speech. He apologized, on behalf of the station, to viewers and stated the dealing with of Romero’s exit “was impolite, it was merciless, it was inappropriate and we’re so sorry.”

He then apologized to Romero, whom he known as “his best friend.”

“You didn’t deserve this, it was a mistake, and we hope you will discover it in your coronary heart to forgive us,” Mester stated, his voice cracking at occasions, in a monologue that lasted greater than 4 minutes alongside three of his colleagues.

Many viewers had applauded Mester’s ad-libbed message, however not lengthy after his protection of Romero, Mester was suspended, drawing much more criticism of how KTLA dealt with the state of affairs.

“Mark was 100% in the correct,” tweeted one user. “It’s such as you guys are begging to lose all of your viewers with this sort of conduct.”

Nevertheless, newsroom staff described a unique state of affairs, saying Mester, who joined KTLA in 2014, had violated their belief.

Staffers stated producers had written a script for Mester to learn to ship off Romero, accompanied by images and clips of her broadcasts, which Mester ignored throughout the phase. He had additionally employed a aircraft with a banner to fly over the station with the message “We love you Lynette.” Mester had pitched producers to incorporate footage of the aircraft within the phase however was rejected.

Staffers stated they noticed Mester pacing backwards and forwards with an indignant look previous to stepping on set for the Saturday phase. He had alerted his social media followers that he was planning to handle Romero’s departure on that morning’s present.

After his phase, folks within the newsroom stated, they noticed Mester ignore administration’s requests to step into their workplace for a gathering. At one level, a number of staffers recalled Mester telling one of many information administrators to “shut up” and stated he refused to go away the constructing after being requested to take action.

In the course of the trade with administration, Mester allegedly yelled obscenities that could possibly be heard by different staffers within the newsroom.

Mester didn’t instantly reply to The Occasions’ requests for remark Thursday.

A number of sources on the station stated it was widespread data that staffers have been involved about Mester’s mood and what was described as his “disrespectful” conduct to ladies and had complained to administration.

“You wouldn’t imagine the mood tantrums and the bizarre issues that set him off,” stated one longtime newsroom worker. “You’re always afraid you’re going to say the flawed factor.”

A longtime anchor on the station stated he hoped viewers would separate Romero’s alternative to go away from Mester’s conduct, which they known as “unprofessional” and “reckless.”

“It was alleged to be proven over a script that was heat, loving and appreciative. It was superior, and [Romero] would’ve beloved that,” the anchor stated of the goodbye piece that producers had ready. “Mark hijacked that and made it about him.”

Veteran journalists at KTLA stated it is not uncommon observe for newsroom managers to not give airtime to expertise leaving for a competitor station.

“Our business has a observe of rapidly and quietly releasing staff members who transfer to the competitors,” Ashley Regan, a producer for KTLA’s “Weekend Morning Information” present, wrote in a statement posted to Twitter following Mester’s outburst. “We might not love the observe, however we all know to not take it personally.”

Romero joined KTLA in 1998 and received a number of native Emmy Awards, together with one in 2006 for her reporting on the Latino group. She was co-anchor of “KTLA Prime-Information” and later co-anchored “KTLA Weekend Morning Information,” which has been among the many most-watched weekend morning information exhibits in Southern California.

For years, she co-anchored with Chris Burrous, who died in 2018 of a methamphetamine overdose. Since then, Romero took the lead of the present, alongside Mester.

Romero has stored a low profile on social media since her KTLA exit, however she addressed followers Sept. 14.

“I’ll at all times be glad about the love and affection LA viewers have given me,” she tweeted. “Keep tuned my buddies I’ll be proper again.”

On Sept. 17, Romero expressed her gratitude and shared a tweet from actor Holly Robinson Peete, the previous co-host of CBS’ “The Speak,” who was fired in 2011 after only one season on the daytime speak present.

“As somebody who obtained no correct goodbye and even an acknowledgement of my departure a few years in the past on the speak,” Peete responded to Romero’s tweet, “I really feel the disrespect and need you the very best can’t wait to see what’s subsequent!”

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