White News Reporter Sues Her NBC-Affiliate Station After They Forced Her to Resign over Using the N-word
Ashley Collman, Daily Mail, July 21, 2017
A news reporter who was forced to resign after it was revealed she used the n-word in a private Twitter exchange with a source is now suing her old station.
Valerie Hoff, 54, filed a lawsuit against NBC-affiliate 11Alive in Atlanta, Georgia on Thursday.
The lawsuit claims that the station made a ‘breach of contract’ by forcing her to resign, when they at first said that a two-week suspension was adequate punishment.
‘I was treated unfairly and I’m looking forward to my side of exactly what happened coming out,’ she told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
The controversy dates back to April 13, when Hoff found a video online showing a white police officer punching a black motorist.
She reached out to the man who posted the video, Curtis Rivers, for permission to use the video.
At the time, Rivers has posted on his Twitter that a bunch of reporters were trying to contact him about the video.
‘I just posted a video to get some justice now I got news n****s all up in my DMs [direct messages] telling me to call them smh [shaking my head],’ he said.
Hoff was forced to resign from her station after her private Twitter conversation, in which she used the n-word, came to light in April.
Hoff tried to make a joke about the post, saying ‘please call this news n****’.
At first, Rivers thought the joke was funny, replying ‘LMFAOO’.
Hoff was messaging with Curtis Rivers about a video he obtained of a white officer punching a black man
But then he became offended when he realized that Hoff wasn’t black.
‘I just looked through your photos on twitter and realize u aren’t black but called me a n****’
‘No I called myself one,’ Hoff responded.
‘I’m a news lady at 11alive I thought you were referring to all of us. So sorry if you didn’t understand,’ she said.
Her station found out about the exchange when Rivers posted part of it on Twitter.
Hoff apologized multiple times and eventually Rivers took the screenshots down.
Hoff says she spoke with her boss, assistant news director Julie Eisenmanm, about the incident and she said Hoff did the right thing, according to the lawsuit.
The next day, Hoff says she even spoke with her human resources representative Grady Tripp, who assured her that she would not be terminated.
Tripp said she would be suspended for two weeks without pay, as her contract stipulated. If she did anything again though, she would be fired.
And just two days before her suspension was to end, she got a voicemail from News Director Jennifer Rigby, saying: ‘We miss you and really, really look forward to your return on Thursday’.
But on Thursday, management pushed her return back by at least a day. And on Friday she was told to wait until Monday.
A few minutes after that call, Rigby called back to say that the story had been reported by a broadcast gossip site and that it complicated her return to work.
A few hours later, Tripp and Rigby gave Hoff the choice of either resigning or being fired.
Hoff resigned, but she said it wasn’t a choice.
Additionally, she says they wouldn’t even let her collect her belongings at the office, and that they swiftly deleted her email so that she didn’t even have the chance to make a resume tape that would help her get a new job.
She is suing for unspecified damages, but says she does not want her job back.