Posted on March 14, 2005

Meredith Fires Exec over Racist Remarks

AP, Mar. 12

DES MOINES, Iowa — Meredith Corp. fired the head of its broadcast group last fall after documenting his repeated comments criticizing blacks, including: “We’ve got to quit hiring all these black people,” according a company memo filed in a lawsuit against the executive.

The Des Moines-based media company, which publishes specialty books and magazines including Ladies’ Home Journal and Better Homes and Gardens, fired Kevin O’Brien in October, citing violations of its equal opportunity policies.

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According to the memo, O’Brien also:

complained that the Atlanta station hired too many black reporters and anchors; said that a black weather forecaster, who was eight months pregnant at the time, should be fired because she was too fat; declined a business deal with a minority-owned station, writing in an e-mail: “I’ve never seen a minority broadcast enterprise work in my entire life, especially if they have control!” and told a black waiter at a company outing: “You probably don’t like the same fruit as me. You look like a watermelon kind of guy.”

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