‘Maybe They’re Afraid I Might Drop Dead’ Fired Inauguration Parade Announcer Believes Age Was A Factor [Video]

Charles Brotman, who has announced every inauguration parade since Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1957, believes his age made it easy to replace him. According to Vanity Fair, the 89-year-old former voice of the Washington Senators baseball team said the e-mail he received left him breathless and reeling in shock as if boxing legend Muhammad Ali had punched him in the belly.

“I looked at my e-mail, then I got the shock of my life. I felt like Muhammad Ali had hit me in the stomach”

Brotman, who has announced 11 presidents into office, revealed he was preparing for Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20 and had no idea that he was going to be replaced by Steve Ray, an anchor for America’s News in Washington D.C. The 58-year-old newsman was a volunteer for Mr. Trump during his presidential campaign. Ray has been in radio for over 30 years working as an audio engineer, news anchor and producer.

A source speaking to CNN revealed that Charles Brotman would be honored as “Announcer Chairman Emeritus” for the hard work he had put in for so many years. The source explained that the choice of Steve Ray as incoming inauguration parade announcer was to connect to a new generation of Americans.

“Since 1957, millions of Americans and countless entertainers have come to recognize Charles Brotman as the voice of the inaugural parade. The Presidential Inaugural Committee will be proud to honor Charlie as Announcer Chairman Emeritus on January 20. We are thrilled for Steve Ray to be introducing a new generation of Americans to the grand traditions of the inaugural parade.”

Despite being hailed as a “legend,” 89-year-old Brotman said it did not help to curtail his disappointment, revealing that at some point he felt he was going to commit suicide after he read the e-mail. Charles Brotman made it known that despite the hurt he felt of being removed, he wished Steve Ray all the best and would not be hoping that he fails so that he could get the job back.

“As opposed to—boy, I hope he fouls up, so they say, ‘We want Charlie back.’ No. I don’t want that at all. I’m saying, ‘You know what? Good luck, young man. I hope you do spectacular.”‘

Ray, who has worked with the MLB’s Washington Nationals, said Charlie was synonymous with the landscape of any building in Washington. The 58-year-old said he did not for a minute consider that he was replacing Brotman, adding that he just happened to be the guy next in line.

“All of us think of Charlie as much of the Washington landscape as any building. I’m on top of the work. From my point of view, I am not filling his shoes. I’m not taking his place. I just happen to be the guy’s whose next.”

Brotman, speaking to the Daily Beast from his Maryland home, said after he got over the shock, he put in a call to the Presidential Committee to find out why he was replaced. According to him, no one answered his question. Instead he was passed from one person to the other, with everyone promising to look into the matter and call him back. Brotman, who met President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956 at a ball game and was soon named the official President’s Announcer, revealed everyone was nervous and refused to answer his question. The 89-year-old believed it was his age that made organizers shop around for a replacement.

“It’s ageism. Maybe they’re afraid I might drop dead at the mic.”

The native Washingtonian was a 22-year-old student at the National Academy of Broadcasters when he was picked by classmates to broadcast the first inauguration on American television. Brotman’s upbeat manner and smooth voice ensured a successful career in broadcasting and working for top sport teams in the country. He founded a public relations firm and remains a well-liked figure in Washington circles.

Do you think it was right to fire Charles Brotman?

[Featured Image by Rypson/iStockPhoto]