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MPT producer who was released files bias suit against station

THE BALTIMORE SUN

A former employee of Maryland Public Television has filed discrimination charges against the non-commercial station alleging that she was let go because she is black and female.

The charges were filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by former MPT producer Marilynn H. Rison after her contract was terminated April 30.

Ms. Rison alleges that her white male assistant, who had less television production experience, was promoted above her and that MPT executive producer Gail Porter Long "demonstrated regular favoritism toward the males on the staff."

Ms. Rison said she was hired in October 1989 to help produce a 26-episode project called "Literary Visions."

The former producer said she was assigned telephone and office work instead of a promised opportunity to travel around the country to interview authors and critics. She said that before filing the EEOC complaint she wrote a five-page letter to MPT president Raymond K. Ho outlining her problems on the project but did not get an answer.

The station, owned by the state and headquartered in Owings Mills, said that Ms. Rison was given notice that her contract would not be renewed after the documentary project was completed.

"She was a contractual employee, who at any point in time, was subject, under the contract, to termination after being given notice," said Elena Langrill, an assistant attorney general who has counseled the station on the charge. Ms. Rison was terminated, she said, "when the project was in a different phase than when she was originally hired."

The case is now being handled for the station by another assistant attorney general, James P. Abbott, who was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Gladys Kaplan, MPT personnel director, said that Mr. Abbott "has not completed his internal investigation. We have not really had a chance to respond officially to [Ms. Rison's] attorney."

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