KTLA’s Mark Mester fired after scolding Lynette Romero
A Los Angeles news anchor has been fired after throwing his own station on the air for handling the sudden departure of his former co-host from the airwaves, a report said.
KTLA’s Mark Mester was suspended and then fired after delivering a surprise off-script defense of former co-host and friend Lynette Romero – who didn’t get a chance to say goodbye on air, several television employees said Los Angeles Times broadcaster.
The channel’s manager reportedly informed newsrooms of the termination during a brief speech Thursday.
The firing comes after Mester said goodbye to his “best friend” Romero in a segment in which he said it was “regrettable” that the broadcaster didn’t give her a “proper goodbye”.
“I want to start right away by apologizing to you,” Mester told viewers on Saturday. “What viewers experienced was rude, it was cruel, it was inappropriate and we are so sorry.
“I also want to apologize to Lynette Romero because Lynette, I love you so much, you are literally my best friend. You didn’t deserve what happened to you.”
Mester also mentioned during the monologue that a plane flew over the station with a message of thanks for Romero. According to the LA Times, the plane was chartered by Mester with a banner that read, “We love you Lynette.”
Mester wanted to include the footage of the plane in a compilation of pictures and videos that the broadcaster played during the farewell, the newspaper reported.
Producers wrote a script for Mester to read about Romero, LA Times staffers said, but instead the host defected, saying he was appalled Romero wasn’t given airtime to tell audiences she was leaving.
“We’re going to offer you dignity and grace, which is what this station should have done from the start,” Mester said in apparent defiance.
“You didn’t deserve this, we’re sorry it was a mistake and we just hope you have the heart to forgive us,” Mester added.
Romero, an institution who was with the station for 24 years, went to another station after unsuccessfully asking her supervisors if she could work an anchor shift on weekdays instead of weekends, the LA Times reported.
“I will always be grateful for the love and affection that viewers have shown me in LA,” Romero tweeted last week. “Hold on my friends, I’ll be right back.”
Mester was disturbed by KTLA’s original salute to Romero on September 14 when he was a reporter Sam Rubin said Romero “has decided to no longer anchor our weekend morning news.”
“We really wanted her to stay, and KTLA management worked hard to make that happen,” Rubin said, according to the LA Times. “Lynette has decided to leave for another opportunity.
“We were hoping she would record a farewell message for viewers, but she declined. Lynette was a wonderful member of the KTLA family and we wish her and her family all the best.”