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Judge Upsets Fraud Award to TV Newswoman

Associated Press

A federal appeals court today overturned a jury award of $325,000 in damages to former TV anchorwoman Christine Craft, who contended that she was demoted because her bosses did not like her looks.

The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals also ruled against Craft and in favor of Metromedia Inc. on her allegations of sex discrimination and equal pay violations. The money had been awarded on an allegation of fraud.

“I have a smile on my face. It is victory on all counts. Total victory,” said Donald Giffin, a lawyer for Metromedia, former owner of KMBC-TV, the Kansas City station where Craft worked in 1981.

“I’m really demoralized,” Craft said in Ventura County, Calif. “I’m shocked. I haven’t read the full decision, but what I do know of it, it flies in the face of fact.”

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Dennis Egan, one of Craft’s lawyers, said he would file a motion for a rehearing with the appeals court.

Craft, 40, was removed from the anchor desk of the Kansas City station in August, 1981, after nine months on the job and was offered a position as a reporter for the station.

She declined the offer and filed a lawsuit against Metromedia.

Craft contended that Metromedia was guilty of fraud because News Director Ridge Shannon and Station Manager R. Kent Replogle promised before she was hired that they would not force her to make radical changes in her appearance. She argued that they then expressed concerns about her on-air appearance immediately after her debut.

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The appeals court ruled that Craft was required to prove that Shannon and Replogle intended all along to change her appearance.


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