In Hunter v. CBS Broadcasting, Inc., ___ Cal.App.4th ___ (Dec. 11, 2013), the California Court of Appeal (Second Appellate District, Division Seven) reversed the Los Angeles County Superior Court court’s order denying defendant employer’s anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss.
Plaintiff filed an action for age and gender discrimination against his broadcaster employer when two younger, attractive females were selected instead of him for positions at two local news stations. Defendant brought a motion to dismiss the action under California’s anti-SLAPP rule which the trial court denied.
The appellate court reversed, finding that Defendant’s selection of the “on-air weather anchors” constituted protected activity because it was in furtherance of its free speech rights in connection with a public issue. Specifically, reporting the news and creating a television show both are valid exercise of free speech, and selecting who should report the news on a local television station “’helped advance or assist’ both forms of First Amendment expression.”