- TV anchor Frank Turner said in a Facebook post Thursday he was “let go” from Michigan’s WNEM.
- He told Insider he didn’t want to work in the studio unmasked but the network gave him an ultimatum.
- WNEM told Insider it didn’t fire Turner and wished him “the best of luck in his future endeavors.”
A Michigan TV anchor says he was “unceremoniously let go” from a news station after saying he wouldn’t share a studio with colleagues while being unmasked.
Frank Turner announced he was leaving Michigan’s WNEM in a Facebook post on Thursday.
“I guess they’d rather not have me at all than accommodate me on the mask in a pandemic. Oh well,” he wrote. “It’s been great. And you all have been wonderful. I’ll miss you.”
Turner told Insider via email on Friday that he has spent most of the coronavirus pandemic alone in a separate studio from his colleagues, and issues arose when WNEM decided to end his accommodation.
“Due to heightened health concerns in my household, working unmasked indoors with other unmasked colleagues, in an environment where COVID infections are still being reported is an unacceptable risk,” he said. “Knowing this, the station gave me an ultimatum: return to the main studio for that evening’s broadcast. When I refused, I was allowed to clear my desk, and escorted from the building. To me, that’s being fired. Others may see it differently. Either way, our relationship has ended and I wish them well.”
WNEM denied firing Turner in its own statement.
“WNEM did not terminate Frank Turner,” the station said in a statement to Insider. “WNEM has specific COVID-19 protocols in place developed in consultation with medical experts. We wish Mr. Turner the best of luck in his future endeavors.”
The TV station said that it and its parent company, Meredith, require employees to wear masks when they can’t social distance and socially distance on-air talent 6-feet apart from one another.
Additionally, WNEM said it is requiring COVID-19 vaccines for all employees starting September 17.
“Our policies continue to be based on federal, state, and local guidance and have been developed with medical and legal consultation,” the TV station said.