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Former Reporter Sues KTLA for Workplace Discrimination

Kurt the CyberGuy, real name Kirt Knutsson, filed a lawsuit against KTLA, the Tribune TV station in Los Angeles, and at least eight other TV stations, for breach of contract, misappropriation of his name and likeness, unfair competition and age discrimination.

Knutsson says in the suit that he started his relationship with KTLA in 1995 after he established himself as an expert reporter on technology. He agreed to provide his services and reporting in return for exposure and technical support, for less than his usual fee. Within two years, his reports were also being syndicated to about two dozen other TV stations.

He signed a five-year deal with KTLA in 2008, but in December 2010, Knutsson says his contract was suddenly terminated. He says two KTLA executives told him they would renegotiate but he would be paid less. Instead, in February 2011, he got a phone call from KTLA news director Jason Ball and Tribune human resources who told him he would no longer appear on the station at all, and that they would notify the other stations that his relationship with them had come to an end.

Despite being let go, Knutsson says his name and image continued for some time on the TV station’s websites, but when a viewer clicked on the link, they were shown consumer technology reports by Rich DeMuro instead, that were broadcast from the same studio as CyberGuy, with the same format and style. Knuttson charges “the decision to terminate Knutsson’s employment was motivated … particularly during the last years of his employment by a company bias against age, specifically with regard to on-air talent.”

If you have been the victim of workplace discrimination based on your sex, race, or gender, contact Don Ho Law today for assistance with your case.

Published by Don Ho Law. Don Ho is a criminal defense and employment law attorney in Orange County, CA. 

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