Alex George was named Chattanooga’s most popular news anchor in a local newspaper poll, but now the 22-year-old is out of a job after a controversial decision by Sinclair Broadcasting — which came as George is on leave battling a rare form of cancer.
As the Chattanoogan reported, the NewsChannel 9 anchor confirmed this week that Sinclair Broadcasting had terminated her contract. George had quickly endeared herself to viewers despite being just out of college, especially after an emotional announcement in May that she had been diagnosed with cancer and was going on leave to seek treatment.
There was some concern on social media that the popular anchor’s disappearance from broadcasts was related to this cancer battle, but George took to Twitter to explain to her fans that her cancer treatment was going well and that it was not her decision to leave the network.
“Hi all, I want to clarify for those who asked. I want to assure you that treatment is going incredibly well. The decision was not made by me it was @WeAreSinclair. They terminated my contract.”
George’s firing has prompted a big response on social media, with many of her fans slamming the broadcast giant’s decision to fire her, especially amid her battle with cancer. Others said that the anchor could not have been fired for poor performance, noting how popular she became with viewers in just a short time.
Even some former colleagues spoke out, bemoaning her sudden firing. Morning host Steve Keeley called Sinclair’s decision “cruel & cold.”
She worked harder than anyone ever to be broadcast journalist& so respected in first job out of college named Best of the Best in Chattanooga. Moorestown neighbor&former @FOX29philly intern @alexgeorgeNC9 in midst of cancer battle gets contract terminated by Sinclair. Cruel&cold pic.twitter.com/Ui06yfMDVB— Steve Keeley (@KeeleyFox29) December 7, 2018
Alex George has been at home with family while she is on medical leave to fight malignant primitive neuroectodermal tumor, which the Times Free Press described as a rare form of bone cancer.
A representative from Sinclair Broadcasting spoke out, saying that the decision to fire Alex George had nothing to do with her being on leave for cancer treatment.
“Sinclair and the WTVC family will continue to pray for Alex’s recovery, and we wish her and her family the best,” a spokesperson wrote in an email (via the Times Free Press.) “While these situations are never easy, we believe that our long term disability policy is extremely competitive and reflects our concern for our employees who become ill or suffer from other issues.”
Even before the decision to terminate the contract of anchor Alex George, Sinclair Broadcasting had been under fire for requiring anchors to read statements defending Donald Trump and echoing his attacks on “fake news” media that is critical of him.