Reporter Derek Myers was hired just three weeks ago by Baton Rouge’s WVLA-TV to cover local news. The 23-year-old was fired on September 8, though, after a confrontation with one of Louisiana’s biggest politicians.
On that date, Sen. David Vitter – an NRA-lovin’, gay-hatin’ and bible-promotin’ Republican – filed to run for governor of Louisiana in an election later this year. Myers was on hand to interview him and other candidates.
But Vitter didn’t want to answer any questions, Myers says. When the young reporter asked about recent complaints against Vitter (holding Senate committee hearings in Louisiana, but only to promote his gubernatorial campaign), the senator simply walked out of the Secretary of State’s office building without answering.
That’s when it got ugly, says Myers. Protestors were outside dressed in diapers, alluding to 2007’s revelations that Vitter wore such garments when he frequented the “D.C. Madam” – a brothel in the nation’s capital.
Following him to his car, Myers asked Vitter if he still hired prostitutes, a question many in the parking lot apparently wanted the senator to answer. Instead of responding, though, Vitter got in his car while his campaign staff blocked Myers from approaching further.
Later that same day, Myers was fired from his new job. A coworker overheard conservation between the station’s management, Myers states, in which a threat to $250,000 in ads from Vitter’s campaign was at risk unless the new reporter was released.
WVLA denies it, of course – but won’t say why Myers was fired, according to The (Baton Rouge) Advocate. Vitter spokesperson Luke Bolar denies any implication, too.
Bolar did acknowledge that he called Myers directly after the incident, though, and accused the reporter of acting on behalf of one of Vitter’s opponents in the governor’s race. Bolar also accused Myers of pushing some of Vitter’s volunteers, who attempted to block the reporter from approaching the senator. Myers says there’s video evidence that defends him against those claims – but which the station also won’t release.
Even without that evidence, Vitter’s record of hypocrisy certainly adds weight to Myers’ argument. Along with his acknowledged attachment to the “D.C. Madam,” Vitter frequented a New Orleans brothel as late as 2004 (and which even his wife publicly admitted). And even though the senator claims a Christian and pro-family platform, Vitter retained a congressional aide and campaign assistant (Brent Furer) who was arrested multiple times, including on charges of physically assaulting an ex-girlfriend with a knife. Furer remained on Vitter’s staff until resigning two years after that assault when national news released the information.
As for Myers? Well, he’s not letting this incident keep him down. In fact, he’s eager to return to the same field, he says.
Featured images by Derek Myers via Twitter