A former reporter for a Sinclair television station is calling out the conservative media group for fostering “a culture of misogyny and xenophobia.”
Jonathan Beaton, who worked as a general assignment reporter for WPEC in West Palm Beach, Florida, offered some strongly worded advice to Sinclair executives during an appearance Sunday on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”
“I’d tell them to pull their head out of their ass and start treating their employees well,” Beaton said. “I don’t want to see my former colleagues who are still working for Sinclair have to continue to sustain that.”
Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns over 170 TV stations in the U.S., has come under fire in recent weeks for ordering its stations’ anchors to recite a script condemning “some media outlets” for “false news” and “fake stories.”
Critics also accuse the broadcaster of pushing a conservative agenda by sending the stations “must-run” segments featuring Boris Epshteyn, a former adviser to President Donald Trump who often speaks in support of the White House.
Beaton started working for WPEC in August 2014 and left less than a year later, citing mental and physical exhaustion. In response, the company sued him for $5,700 for leaving before his contract expired, Beaton wrote in an essay for HuffPost published Friday.
“I believe these lawsuits are an obvious attempt to scare former employees,” Beaton wrote. “The message? Quit on us and we’ll rain hell down on you. But I refuse to cower and acquiesce to this malevolent corporation. I’m fighting back.”
The lawsuit wasn’t Beaton’s only complaint about Sinclair.
“As reporters and anchors at the company, we were routinely told to follow leads and angles with a clear-cut conservative agenda,” he wrote, adding, “We couldn’t do stories, for the most part, that involved the LGBTQ community. There were a set of parameters and we had to stick to them.”
Sinclair has defended its must-run segments as well as the must-read script about “fake stories.” In a Tuesday tweet, Trump claimed that “Fake News Networks” were “worried about the competition and quality” of Sinclair.