Nexstar’s already shaky relationship with The Hill’s staff was put to the test late last month when the media company marked Trans Day of Remembrance with a Slack message that led to a blow-up among staffers.
“Let us also take a moment today to think of those who tragically lost their lives in Colorado this weekend,” an executive assistant posted to a Nexstar Digital company-wide Slack channel on Nov. 21 in a message reviewed by Confider. “Though all their names have not yet been released, we standing solidarity of the trans community and the entire LGBTQIA+ community today and always.”
The post appeared to ring as tone-deaf to some staffers, with one Hill employee asking if this meant Nexstar would finally cover gender-affirming care for trans employees and beneficiaries. That question received dozens of supportive emoji replies and led to a pile-on from various other Hill and Nexstar staffers fuming about the company’s lack of such coverage.
“This company had consistently dragged their feet and done nothing,” one Nexstar employee wrote, citing multiple instances in which company brass allegedly promised to change the policy and then delayed providing updates. “Several of our trans colleagues had to leave the company because we are not treated equally here,” this staffer further alleged in the Slack channel with 400+ members.
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Another Hill employee specifically noted how Nexstar’s benefits exclude those with gender dysphoria from access to some mental-health resources; and a Nexstar staffer asked if they could update their previous answers to an employee survey now that they believe they were “gravely misinformed” about the company’s health-care coverage.
The entire episode prompted Karen Brophy, the president of Nexstar Digital, to weigh in: “All - we continue to work with corporate on this important issue and have asked for these benefits. I know HR has been pressing on this and they are working on what we can do going into next year. They will have answers, but I don’t think we have one today.”
Several days later, Téa Duplex, the company’s SVP of operations, announced, “This channel is for company wide announcements only,” while limiting who could post in the room.
One Hill source who spoke with Confider said the ordeal was indicative of Nexstar’s larger issues involving diversity and inclusion, noting how the company axed The Hill’s company holidays for Juneteenth and MLK Day upon acquiring the D.C. news outlet.
Hours after Confider approached Nexstar for comment, the company informed staffers in an email that MLK Day would be observed in 2023 and that an additional personal day will be offered for employees to observe a holiday of their choosing.
Nexstar did not respond to our multiple requests for comment, but hours later the company informed staffers in an email that MLK Day would be observed in 2023 and that an additional personal day will be offered for employees to observe a holiday of their choosing.
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