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5 Anchorwomen to Leave NY1 After Settling Discrimination Suit

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Five NY1 anchorwomen, including the longtime New York City television personality Roma Torre, are leaving the local news channel after settling an age and gender discrimination lawsuit against the beloved local media institution.

“After engaging in a lengthy dialogue with NY1, we believe it is in everyone’s interest — ours, NY1’s and our viewers’ — that this litigation be resolved, and we have mutually agreed to part ways,” the plaintiffs wrote in a statement on Thursday. In addition to Ms. Torre, they are Amanda Farinacci, Vivian Lee, Jeanine Ramirez and Kristen Shaughnessy.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

The announcement ended a legal saga that began in June 2019 when the anchorwomen, who ranged in age from 40 to 61, sued NY1’s parent, the cable company Charter Communications. They alleged that they had been forced off the air and rebuffed by managers who favored younger and less experienced hosts.

The decision by the anchorwomen to leave NY1 entirely was a jarring outcome for many viewers, including Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

“2020 was a year of loss, and NY1 just lost five of their best reporters,” Mr. Cuomo wrote on Twitter on Thursday. “This is a tremendous loss for all of their viewers.”

For New Yorkers who revered NY1 as a lo-fi televised public square for the five boroughs — with amiable anchors who were part of the all-in-the-neighborhood charm — the discrimination lawsuit was bracing. In the legal complaint, Ms. Torre, a signature on-air presence who joined the network at its start in 1992, described her frustration at what she perceived as NY1’s more favorable treatment of the channel’s star morning anchor, Pat Kiernan, including a glitzy ad campaign and a new studio that she said she was barred from using.

Executives at Charter responded that the suit and its allegations were meritless, describing NY1 as “a respectful and fair workplace.” The company noted that Cheryl Wills, another long-serving female anchor, had been appointed host of a prominent weeknight newscast as part of a network revamp.

On Thursday, Charter, which is based in Stamford, Conn., said it was “pleased” by the resolution of the anchorwomen’s suit. “We want to thank them for their years of dedicated service in reporting the news for New Yorkers, and we wish them well in their future endeavors,” Charter said in a statement.

Ms. Torre and the other plaintiffs continued to appear on air in their regular slots at NY1 while the lawsuit was pending. But tensions occasionally spilled into view.

This past month, The New York Post wrote about a demand by a lawyer for the journalists that Charter reveal Mr. Kiernan’s contract as a way to determine his salary. (The demand was denied.) Another court filing accused Mr. Kiernan’s talent agent of trying to intimidate Ms. Torre by telling her brother that the suit should be dropped, a claim the agent denied.

The women were represented by the firm of Douglas H. Wigdor, a prominent Manhattan employment lawyer who has brought discrimination suits against major companies including Citigroup, Fox News and Starbucks.

The lawsuit also touched on larger tensions in the TV news business, an industry where older women can often find their careers fading as male colleagues thrive. In the world of New York TV, the case evoked memories of Sue Simmons, the popular WNBC-TV anchor who was ousted in 2012 and whose longtime co-anchor, Chuck Scarborough, remains a star at the station.

“We feel we are being railroaded out of the place,” Ms. Torre told The New York Times in 2019, when the suit was filed. “Men age on TV with a sense of gravitas, and we as women have an expiration date.”

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