News director for Michigan NBC affiliate fired after telling staff to cover Pride month from 'both sides'

Stanton's former team said he had created a "toxic atmosphere" after his request for balanced coverage.

Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA

A director of a Michigan news station was fired after issuing a memo to journalists asking them to provide fair and honest coverage of LGBTQ Pride month events, which includes the criticism that has been seen across the country.

Stanton Tang, the former news director of NBC affiliate Wood TV 8, was terminated from his position last week after ordering his assistant to draft a memo stating that the news station must ensure it puts out balanced coverage on the LGBTQ Pride month, as the network has received complaints about its journalists fawning over the activities and not engaging in fair reporting, according to The Desk.

"We know that West Michigan is a Conservative area in many ways," the memo said, according to a copy obtained by The Desk. "We need to recognize that some stories related to LGBTQ issues are going to be controversial and polarizing in our community. While you personally may not agree with a certain position, people are entitled to their opinions, and they are our viewers."

The memo, written by assistant news director Amy Fox at the request of Tang, asked journalists to stay "balanced and get both sides of the issue," as well as to only report on things that would be considered "newsworthy." Fox was also terminated by the network, according to The Desk.

Employees at the network were reportedly furious after receiving the memo and alleged that the network under Tang's leadership was a "toxic" work environment.

"The toxic atmosphere created by Stanton's behavior has had a profound impact on the well-being and morale of our team," one employee wrote in an email to The Desk.

Another staff member told the outlet that emotions were "still raw" among employees at the network.

WOOD-TV’s parent company, Nexstar, apologized after the memo leaked to the media and said that it was "not consistent with Nexstar's values, the way we cover the news or the respect we have for our viewers."

Luke Stier and Madeline Odle, former executive producers at the network, were also terminated over allegations that they had leaked the memo to the press.

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