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White Newscaster’s Firing Wasn’t Racial, Court Says

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - KNTV did not racially discriminate when it fired a white newscaster and replaced him with a black anchorman, a California appeals court ruled. The station showed that its newly hired vice president of news made the decision to fire Bradford Hicks based on his unsatisfactory on-air performance.

James Sanders, the new executive, said he chose not to retain Hicks because his abilities were "not consistent with KNTV's expectations for a major network evening news anchor in the fifth-ranked market in the nation."

KNTV is an NBC affiliate broadcasting in the San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco area.

Sanders added that he thought Hicks' "on-camera presence and demeanor were such that he came across like a person you wouldn't necessarily say 'hi' to if you passed him on the street."

Viewers had called in and made similar criticisms of Hicks' performance, the ruling states.

Even if Sanders lied about his reason for firing Hicks, the court concluded that a jury would likely decide that his firing had nothing to do with race.

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