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Kent, NBC Agree on Out-of-Court Deal : Television: The Persian Gulf War’s ‘Scud Stud’ gets a settlement and written admission that he was not fired for refusing a dangerous assignment.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Former NBC News correspondent Arthur Kent, who filed suit against the network after he was fired in 1992 for allegedly refusing an assignment to cover a war zone, said Wednesday he had agreed to an out-of-court settlement that provides him money and something he considered more important: his reputation.

NBC released a statement acknowledging that Kent had not been released because he refused to travel to the former Yugoslavia, as executives had maintained at the time.

When he was dismissed in August, 1992, officials under then-NBC News President Michael Gartner had said that Kent had turned down an assignment in war-torn Zagreb, Croatia, and was unable to work with others or take direction from management.

Kent, who gained fame as an NBC correspondent during the Persian Gulf War (earning the nickname “Scud Stud”), maintained that he was asked to go to Zagreb without proper planning or safety precautions, and that he was being punished because of a contract dispute and his desire to do harder-edged stories for the newsmagazine “Dateline NBC.” He filed a $25-million lawsuit in October, 1992, accusing the network of breach of contract, defamation and fraud. It was due to come to trial in Los Angeles next month.

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Terms of Wednesday’s settlement were not disclosed. But in a statement, NBC News said that the events that led to his firing “were exclusively the result of a contract dispute between the parties. . . . They were not because of Mr. Kent’s refusal to travel to and report from the former Yugoslavia.”

In a press conference to announce the settlement, Andrew Lack, president of NBC News, praised Kent’s work and said that he hoped to have him return in some capacity.

“I did not bring this lawsuit to embarrass NBC News or to profit monetarily but to correct an injustice,” Kent said. “What I was after was to set the record straight.”

Kent, who said previously that NBC’s statements about him had hurt his ability to get work at other networks, is currently the host of “Man Alive,” a documentary series on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. in his native Canada. Kent said that he planned to continue on the Canadian program but hoped that he might also work for NBC.

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