Christine Craft

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Christine Ann Craft (born 1944) is an attorney, radio talk show host and former television news anchor. She became known in the broadcast industry in the 1980s for her age and sexual discrimination lawsuit against a television station that had demoted her from news anchor to reporter.[1]

Early life[edit]

Craft was born in 1944 in San Marino, California.[2][3] After graduating from college with a degree in English in 1966, she spent time as a classroom teacher and competitive surfer in the Santa Barbara area.

TV career[edit]

In 1974, Craft took a position as a weather reporter at KSBW-TV in Salinas, California. [4] While working for KSBW, she served in a variety of reporting roles, including news reporting and sports. She then moved from KSBW to the CBS affiliate, KPIX-TV, in San Francisco where she continued working as an "all around" reporter.

In 1977, CBS hired Craft to do the weekly segment, "Women in Sports", for the CBS Sports Spectacular.[4] As part of her on-air reporting, she was required by CBS to undergo a make-over which included having her hair bleached platinum blonde; Craft later stated that she hated the experience. After a year at CBS, Craft returned to California where she again worked in several news positions, including a stint as co-anchor for Santa Barbara's ABC affiliate, KEYT-TV.

Craft continued with KEYT for several years before moving to Kansas City to work for the Metromedia, Inc. ABC affiliate, KMBC-TV. Craft claims that unbeknownst to her, a media consulting company produced a tape of her and had it shopped around to several stations throughout the country, including KMBC. As a result of this exposure, executives at KMBC requested Craft come to Kansas City for an interview; following the interview, she was hired. Craft states that at the time of her hiring she told the station management she "showed signs of her age and experience", and after the experience with CBS, was not willing to once again be "made over".

Lawsuit[edit]

In January 1981 Craft became co-anchor with Scott Feldman on the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscast on KMBC-TV. Following the addition of Craft to the news program, the station's newscasts went from third to first in the ratings.[5] Eight months into her two-year contract, Craft was removed from the anchor position in August, 1981 after a focus group had determined she was "too old, too unattractive and wouldn't defer to men." At that time there was only one woman over the age of forty anchoring a newscast at a network affiliate in the United States. Craft refused to accept the demotion, and went public with her disagreement with the station through an interview in a local newspaper. She left KMBC and returned to doing television in Santa Barbara.

While working in Santa Barbara, Craft filed a TITLE VII lawsuit against Metromedia, and in 1983, a federal jury in Kansas City awarded her $500,000 in damages. A federal judge overturned the award and ordered a second trial, this time in Joplin, Missouri. The second jury also awarded her $500,000. Metromedia appealed and the 8th Circuit Court subsequently overturned the decision. Craft's appeal of that decision to the United States Supreme Court was denied, although Supreme Court Judge Sandra Day O'Connor did write in favor of hearing the case.[4] Several employment-law references[4] include her case as an example of Title VII discrimination lawsuits.[6]

Authorship, law school and talk-radio[edit]

In 1986, she published her semi-autobiographical book, "Too Old, Too Ugly, Not Deferential to Men". Craft continued doing television, anchoring the news at KRBK in Sacramento where she was also managing editor and went on to do television programs for San Francisco's KQED. Craft then went to law school, graduating in 1995 from the University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law, passing the California Bar exam that same year. It was during her studies in law school when Craft first started working in talk-radio, hosting a program at KFBK, in Sacramento.

Current life[edit]

In the Fall of 2007, Craft left her hosting duties at KSAC in Sacramento after a failure to reach a new contract agreement with the station manager. Currently, Craft is a fill-in talk radio host at KGO in San Francisco[4] and practices law worker's compensation and employment law at the law offices of Farrell, Fraulob and Brown in Sacramento. She often fills in for Karel Bouley's radio program.

She is also involved in doing pro-bono work in the animal abuse field and argues for stronger statutes against such crimes. She has lectured at colleges, universities and law schools about Title VII litigation (the Civil Rights Act of 1964) and her media experiences.[4] Her story was featured in an exhibit at the Newseum, an interactive museum of news and journalism located in Washington, D.C.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Christine Craft at The Museum of Broadcast Communications". Museum.tv. 1983-08-09. Retrieved 2010-09-06. 
  2. ^ "Christine Craft". Museum of Broadcast Communications. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  3. ^ Allen, Craig (1999), Michael D. Murray, ed., "Christine Craft", Encyclopedia of Television News (Greenwood Publishing Group) 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Christine Craft". KGO 810. Archived from the original on September 3, 2012. 
  5. ^ William A. Henry III; Miriam Pepper (1983-08-22). "Requiem for TV's Gender Gap?". Time.com. Time Magazine. Retrieved 2010-09-06. 
  6. ^ "Christine Craft - Sacramento Workers Compensation Lawyers". Ffblaw.com. Retrieved 2010-09-06. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Lowe, Denise, Women and American Television, An Encyclopedia, ISBN 0-87436-970-3
  • Smith, S. B. "Television Executives Upset by Kansas City Finding." New York Times, 9 August 1983.
  • Thornton, M. "Newscaster Wins $500,000." Washington (D.C.) Post, 9 August 1983.
  • "Woman in TV Sex Bias Suit is Awarded $500,000 by Jury." New York Times, 9 August 1983.

External links[edit]