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More companies pull advertising from abc27 in wake of harassment complaints

(PennLive)  Two more advertisers have reportedly pulled their advertising from abc27 in the wake of allegations of workplace harassment at the TV station.

Philly.com says at least 10 employees – seven women and three men – have left or given notice since daytime anchor Flora Posteraro left in March.

Platinum Preowned LLC in Carlisle has suspended advertising with the station, and Philly.com reports Faulkner Automotive Group has done the same.

PennLive has confirmed that Flora Posteraro left in March, followed by Carrie Perry in April, Dawn White in May, and Megan Frank and Amanda St. Hilaire in June and Miranda Ruiz in July.

Mike Dorazio, owner of Platinum Preowned in Carlisle, said he decided to suspend his advertising with the station “out of support of the individuals that are making the allegations.”

He said he hopes to do business with the company in the future, but said, “I want to see them rectify the situation and do the right thing.”

Dorazio said with multiple individuals claiming some sort of bad behavior, he believes “management is taking the wrong side of this battle.” He feels the station should acknowledge the claims are legitimate, and that station manager Robert Bee should be dismissed.

Faulkner Automotive Group did not immediately return telephone calls to PennLive regarding the advertising issue.

Abc27 did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the advertisers’ action.

Giant Food Stores and Capital Blue Cross also have pulled advertising from the station.

On July 3, Giant announced it was suspending advertising at abc27.

“Following recent allegations against ABC 27’s general manager, GIANT Food Stores has decided to temporarily suspend our advertising with the station until the matter is appropriately resolved.  We are fully committed to supporting fair and safe workplace environments,” the statement said.”

In March, Capital Blue Cross was the first company to announce it was suspending advertising in the wake of the discrimination complaints at the station.

“Capital BlueCross is committed to supporting fair and safe workplace environments, both within our company and in the community.
“We decided to suspend advertising with abc27 until the public complaint against the station’s general manager is appropriately resolved.
“We take the matter of due process seriously and have not made any judgments as to fault in this matter.  But we also take allegations of sexual harassment or retaliation in the workplace very seriously, leading us to this decision.
“We look forward to resuming our advertising with ABC 27 once the matter is appropriately resolved and Capital can be confident in the appropriate treatment of all employees in the workplace by ABC 27 and its management.”

Flora Posteraro, who lost her job at abc27 in March after refusing an involuntary transfer to a weekend anchor/reporting job, filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations commission March 22. Poteraro claims her reassignment was in retaliation for her participation in an August 2017 complaint to the station’s officials concerning Robert Bee, general manager.

Theresa Underwood, Nexstar senior vice president and regional manager, has said the station does not comment on personnel matters.

In regard to the original complaint made about Bee in August, Underwood said, “We take any allegation seriously.”

“A complete investigation was done,” she continued. “The company found no merit to the allegations that were made in an anonymous letter. And because it was anonymous, there was nobody to report back to. We take allegations made by employees very seriously. We investigate thoroughly. And we act appropriately.”

Bee arrived at WHTM, the Harrisburg, Lancaster, York market’s ABC affiliate, in January 2017, shortly after the station was acquired by Nexstar Media Group, Inc., of Irving, Texas.

Philly.com reports problems exist at other Nexstar stations, including WBRE in Wilkes-Barre, where employees charge Bee made disparaging comments to and about female employees when he was vice president and general manager in 2012-17.

In Louisiana, a former female news director claimed in an arbitration filing that a male supervisor lunged at her “in a fit of rage.” 

And in Vermont, a vice president and general manger is being sued by a former employee who claims that rampant sexual harassment forced her to leave her job as a sales executive.

Nexstar owns 170 television stations nationwide, most major network affiliates that reach 100 television markets.

The company owns two other stations in Pennsylvania, in Altoona and Erie.

What should abc27 do now? Here is a public relations expert’s advice