'Takeaway' Producer: I Was Fired For Holding Sign In 'Occupy Wall Street' Protest
October 31, 2011 at 3:59 AM (PT)
Another public radio figure has been fired for taking part in an "Occupy" protest, this time freelance reporter and web producer CAITLIN CURRAN, who wrote a post at GAWKER.COM about being fired from NEW YORK PUBLIC RADIO noncommercial WNYC-A-F/NEW YORK and PUBLIC RADIO INTERNATIONAL's "THE TAKEAWAY" after being photographed holding a sign at the OCCUPY WALL STREET protest.
CURRAN said that she and her boyfriend had created the sign, with a long quote from CONOR FREIDERSDORF's article in THE ATLANTIC that criticized the creation of "sabotaged" mortgage-backed securities, as part of a plan, she said, to have her boyfriend hold the sign while CURRAN observed reaction to it. Instead, she ended up holding the sign after her boyfriend "developed sign-holding fatigue," and a photographer took a picture of her that went viral on the Internet. She said the show's GM fired her over the phone the next day for violating journalistic ethics by taking part in the protest.
Agreeing with LISA SIMEONE, the freelance host who was fired from an NPR documentary series for becoming the spokesperson for a group holding "OCCUPY DC" protests, CURRAN wrote, "It's unclear to me how our participation, on our personal time, in a non-partisan movement warrants termination from our jobs. If the protest is so lacking, in terms of message and focus, then how can my involvement with it go against THE TAKEAWAY's ethical policies? In other words, if I'm associated with a party-less movement (and barely associated, since that was only the second time I've attended an OCCUPY WALL STREET event), and have never exercised bias in editing THE TAKEAWAY's website, what's the harm?"
In an e-mail to the WASHINGTON POST, the show's management said of CURRAN, "She was expected to be free of any conflict that might compromise the work of the show overall ... when Ms. CURRAN made the decision to participate in the protest and make herself part of the story, she violated our editorial standards."