TV6 loses 2nd staffer over vaccine policy
NEGAUNEE — Another well-known face at WLUC-TV6 has departed the station.
Sarah Blakely, formerly a co-anchor for the “TV6 Early News” and “TV6 News Tonight,” announced she’d left the television station in a Facebook post Wednesday morning.
Blakely cited the station’s corporate owner Gray Television and its COVID-19 vaccination mandate for its employees as a primary reason for her exit.
“I am no longer employed at TV6. Yes, it’s because of the company’s new vaccine policy,” Blakely said in the post. “Getting vaccinated against COVID does not hold a monopoly on ways to care for yourself and others…. When the policy was announced (exacerbating my anxiety) I had the option to file an exemption but I chose not to in favor of letting them fire me.”
The news comes one week after longtime meteorologist Karl Bohnak announced he was terminated due to the company’s vaccine policy.
Gray Television’s vaccination policy, which can be found on its website, states:
“Gray Television has set the bar again with new policies for our employees that are meant to provide the safest possible workplace. Effective Sept. 1, 2021, all new full-time and part-time hires must be ‘fully vaccinated’ against the coronavirus (as defined by the CDC). This full vaccination policy will extend to all of our managers effective Sept. 15, 2021, and to all other employees, as well as all outside contractors, tenants and guests who enter our workspaces, on Oct. 1, 2021. We will make accommodations for employees with medical or religious needs.”
The Atlanta-based television broadcasting company operates 162 stations in 103 markets across the country.
Blakely thanked WLUC viewers for their support throughout her time with the station.
“I want to thank you all for welcoming this Hoosier into your homes all these years, not once but twice, from my days as the Houghton-Hancock bureau reporter to my return to anchor the morning news to my move to the evening news,” she said in the post. “There is certainly some deep sadness and disappointment over letting go of my childhood dream, but I know I’m making the best decision for my health because I know what’s best for my health. The Upper Peninsula is truly my heart and my home, and I’m not going anywhere.”
Blakely’s Facebook post has since been removed by the social media platform for “going against its community standards.”
TV6 Late News anchor Elyse Chengery has also been missing from recent broadcasts, and is no longer listed on WLUC’s website. However, the specific reason for Chengery’s absence is unknown as of this writing.
A call to WLUC on Wednesday was not returned before press time.