Maybe the reason Anderson Cooper isn’t so forthcoming with his sexuality is he fears a fate similar to Charles Perez, the Miami anchor for ABC affiliate WPLG claiming he was removed for being gay.
Perez was last seen pulling anchor duty on July 22, but his descent began months ago, according to a discrimination claim filed with Miami-Dade’s Equal Opportunity Board, alleging WPLG bosses ousted him “because of their discomfort over the increasingly high profile of my sexual orientation.”
Not helping things? Perez is in the middle of a domestic violence dispute with ex-boyfriend Dennis Ricardo Peña, who stands accused of leaking a private email between Perez and his therapist to his work colleagues. (Peña filed his own complaint against Perez, alleging Perez is the one responsible for the threats.)
On March 16, Perez alleges in court papers, Peña hacked into his personal e-mail, intercepting a ”confidential and sensitive” e-mail and then forwarding it to ”every single person” on Perez’s e-mail address book. Among those who received the e-mail was Perez’s attorney, Milstein. Perez says Peña had enough personal info to obtain his password.
Peña tells The Miami Herald: “I did not hack into his e-mail.”
The e-mail in question was sent Feb. 20 to a family therapist in Los Angeles. Perez’s petition says the e-mail could cause ”substantial harm” to his “professional and personal reputation.”
Perez also says Peña sent him threatening text messages late last month.
Peña filed a 12-page motion to dismiss Perez’s petition. The motion mentions Perez’s co-anchor Laurie Jennings and her contract negotiations; details of the Perez-Peña sexual relationship; and Perez’s relationship with a new partner, accountant Keith Rinehard. In the motion, Peña claims that Perez reached out to the therapist ‘for counsel with his `gender identity issues.’ ”
It seems to coincide with his removal at the network.
The filing summary details Perez’s quick descent at Channel 10, which began weeks after a March 3 performance review, when Perez says that WPLG News Director Bill Pohovey told him he was “too anchor-like and too ‘Brian Williams’ in my delivery.”
On March 16, a private e-mail from Perez written to a family therapist was forwarded to everyone in the reporter’s online address book. The e-mail said Perez told the therapist he needed to work through his “gender identity issues.”
Three days later, Pohovey called Perez into his office for a “new” performance review, this time saying that Perez came across “too soft,” didn’t sound “main anchor-like” and smiled too much with co-anchor Laurie Jennings. “Like girlfriends.”
On April 3, Perez went to court seeking a restraining order against his former partner, Dennis Ricardo Peña, whom he accused of leaking the private e-mail.
Later that month, Perez claims he “began to disappear” from station promotional spots. He lost the weeknight anchor seat July 22.