Los Angeles media outlet KTLA fired anchor Mark Mester just days after he was suspended for emotionally going rogue on-air, hammering the station over how it handled the resignation of his best friend and co-anchor Lynette Romero.
(Video Credit: KTLA)
The off-script defense came as a shock to the station as Mester apologized for the way they treated Romero. They didn’t even allow her a chance to say goodbye on air before kicking her to the curb, according to a number of employees who spoke to the Los Angeles Times.
Station manager Janene Drafs reportedly announced Mester’s termination in a speech on Thursday to newsroom workers.
On Sept. 14, KTLA announced that Romero had decided to leave after nearly 24 years at the station and pursue another opportunity. They claimed her departure was her moving on despite the station hoping she would spend the rest of her career with them.
“After nearly 24 years, Lynette Romero, our friend Lynette, has decided to move on from anchoring our weekend morning news,” Pete Saiers, the station’s news director, wrote in a statement that was read by entertainment reporter Sam Rubin during the segment.
Wait a fucking minute..@ktla suspended @mester_mark?!?! Y’all can fuck all the way off for how you treated Lynette & her departure. Mark was 100% in the right. It’s like you guys are begging to lose all your viewers with this kind of behavior.
— Rox (@RoxsRants) September 20, 2022
“KTLA management had hoped she would stay here her entire career, and KTLA worked hard to make that happen,” Rubin noted. “But Lynette has decided to move to another opportunity elsewhere. Lynette, we wish you luck, we miss you and we thank you for everything you’ve done for KTLA. … On behalf of everyone here, we wish you and your family nothing but the best.”
Saiers later said that management had hoped Romero would record a farewell message to viewers, but claimed that she declined.
On Sept. 17, Mester went off-script during a portion of his show to apologize on behalf of the station to the viewers. He asserted that the way the station handled the resignation “was rude, it was cruel, it was inappropriate, and we are so sorry.” He also said it was “unfortunate” how the station didn’t give her a “proper goodbye.”
Shame on you @KTLA Regardless of where @LynetteRomero is moving on to, she provided many years and was the main reason viewers watched @KTLAWeekendAM She deserved better from you. Thank you @mester_mark for your grace and beautiful speech.
— Icy Kanfer (@Ilene_kanfer) September 17, 2022
Wow, this is shocking coming from KTLA. What a childish way to handle this by the station. I fully support Mark Mester defending Lynette and speaking out on the poor handling of the entire thing.
— Lizzard 🦎 (@lizzard011) September 22, 2022
@KTLA Guess what? Because you fired Mark Mester, you have lost two long time loyal viewers since the morning news program started in the early 90’s. Mark was only standing up for Lynette. Obviously, you don’t care for long time employees. Good bye. I know your ratings will drop.
— John (@Only1JohnnyO) September 23, 2022
“You did not deserve this,” Mester commented, calling Romero his best friend. “It was a mistake, and we hope you can find it in your heart to forgive us.”
He also commented that a plane was flying over the station with a message for Romero thanking her. The Los Angeles Times reported that Mester hired the plane to display a banner that said, “We love you, Lynette.” He had allegedly intended to use footage of the plane and a compilation of images and videos during the farewell address.
— mark mester (@mester_mark) September 17, 2022
Producers had given Mester a script to read about Romero, according to staff but he had other plans. He stated that he was appalled that Romero wasn’t given a chance to tell the audience she would be leaving.
“We’re going to offer you dignity and grace, which is what this station should’ve done from the beginning,” Mester defiantly claimed. “You did not deserve this, we are sorry, it was a mistake and we just hope that you can find it in your heart to forgive us.”
Romero was with the station for 24 years. She left for a position with another station after her bosses turned her down when she asked for a weekday anchor shift instead of working on weekends according to the Los Angeles Times.
“I will always be grateful for the love and affection LA viewers have given me,” Romero tweeted after the incident. “Stay tuned my friends I’ll be right back.”
I will always be grateful for the love and affection LA viewers have given me. Stay tuned my friends I’ll be right back.🌻 https://t.co/H6BcRuR8VJ
— Lynette Romero (@LynetteRomero) September 15, 2022
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