by Chris Potter
Courtesy of the folks at Pittsburgh Urban Media comes word that former WPXI anchor Gina Redmond -- who ended up the subject of news stories after a 2002 barroom altercation -- is commenting on "What Really Happened in Pittsburgh" on her own website.
As Ms. Redmond tells the story:
Several years ago, I was accused of slapping a former producer across the face during a non-work related function. Now granted, as the main anchor of a top 30 television station, hanging out at a dive bar in the wee morning hours, is a decision that teeters on insanity, stupidity and pure ignorance. Lesson learned.
... However, let me set the record straight once and for all. My hand never made contact with her face. In layman terms, I did not slap her. No doctors were consulted, no criminal charges were filed, and no pictures were taken of a bruised and battered innocent face. Yet in this sue happy climate a trip to the magistrate’s office is all that is necessary to make a legal accusation against your enemy.
All of a sudden, I was on the defensive. For months I remained silent, while my accuser’s then boyfriend, spewed vile lies about me in the media. At the request of my employer, I kept my mouth shut and agreed to plead no contest to make this nightmare go away. It was then that I realized this battle had nothing to do with seeking the truth, it was solely about revenge. I am not good at revenge. So instead, I chose to forgive, forget and move on. Unfortunately, others were unable to do the same. That little white lie left me unemployed for two years.
The producer in question was Roberta Petterson; the boyfriend was John McIntire, former City Paper columnist and one-time host of Nighttalk, which airs on WPXI's cable-only sister station, PCNC. Redmond did indeed end up before a magistrate as a result of the incident, and pleaded no contest to the charges ... though by that point, she'd already gone before a magistrate to have a PFA taken out against Petterson. (For McIntire's take on the incident way back in 2003, click here.)
In her blog post, Petterson likens her situation to that of Shirley Sherrod, who the Obama Administration prematurely fired because of an out-of-context snippet of video tape circulated by conservative muckrakers. "[N]egative controversy is far more appealing and easier for most Americans to believe," Redmond concludes.
In the meantime, Petterson left Pittsburgh for Cleveland, and is now apparently in Nashville, Tennessee. Redmond, it seems, was let go from a station in Birmingham, Alabama over the summer. The reasons remain unclear.