A reporter for a Baton Rouge, Louisiana TV station said he was fired Tuesday for asking Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) whether he still hires prostitutes.
Derek Myers told The Advocate newspaper that WVLA fired him because the Vitter’s gubernatorial campaign threatened to pull its advertising from the news station after he asked the senator the question. Vitter admitted in 2007 to being a client of the infamous “D.C. Madam.”
Myers later explained to Gawker that a coworker, whom he did not identify, told him that he or she overheard WVLA’s news director and vice president of news saying that the station’s general manager should apologize to Vitter’s gubernatorial campaign for Myers’ line of questioning. Myers told Gawker the coworker then overheard the top brass allegedly discussing a call that came in from someone on Vitter’s campaign about ad spending.
Jim Baronet, WVLA’s general manager, told The Advocate that no one from the Vitter campaign contacted the news station about ads and added that company policy prevented him from discussing the reasons for Myers’ dismissal. A spokesman for Vitter’s gubernatorial campaign, Luke Bolar, similarly told the newspaper that no one from his office contacted WVLA about ads.
The Advocate noted that Myers joined WVLA just three weeks ago after a stint at a Florida TV station. The reporter confronted Vitter about his past prostitution scandal in the parking lot after the senator signed paperwork to qualify for the governor’s race, according to the newspaper.
Myers asked Vitter whether he still patronizes prostitutes, according to The Advocate, and added: “Sen. Vitter, don’t you think the people deserve answers?”
Vitter’s gubernatorial campaign told a slightly different story. Bolar told Myers in a phone conversation after the confrontation that he’d heard the reporter pushed a campaign staffer, according to the newspaper.
Myers denied Bolar’s allegation to both The Advocate and Gawker. The reporter told Gawker that there’s video of the incident that shows he didn’t assault any campaign staffer, but he said WVLA forbid him from making that video public.