A WSVN-Channel 7 investigative news producer in Miami, Florida, has been fired after being accused of hurling the n-word at her neighbor during an expletive-laden video of an argument that surfaced last week.
WSVN has terminated Robin Cross, 49, after an ongoing feud with her neighbor about street parking concerns escalated into an ugly confrontation.
Robert Fenton, a 66-year-old retired car dealer, confronted Cross after she parked in front of his house, partially blocking his driveway. Cross is accused of losing her temper, shouting obscenities at Fenton and calling his son’s girlfriend the n-word, according to the Miami Herald.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cross Is Accused of Being in a Heated Dispute With Neighbors for Years
According to the Miami Herald, which spoke to sources close to Cross, the WSVN producer has been involved in a tense battle with her neighbor Robert Fenton, a 66-year-old retired car dealer, and his family over street parking issues.
Cross told station officials that the dispute started four years ago when she moved to Fort Lauderdale’s Isle of Venice Drive. She says Fenton and his family have been harassing her about parking near their house and blocking their driveway, reports the Herald.
Things finally erupted Tuesday when Cross said she lost her cool after Fenton came out to confront her for once again parking near their driveway.
The video of the confrontation shows Cross swearing at Fenton when he confronts her about blocking the driveway.
“These f–king people think they’re going to f–king park here and play their f–king games, f–k them,” Cross is heard muttering as she steps out of her car.
“You don’t f–king own the road,” Cross is heard telling Fenton as she walks over to him. He tells her that she is blocking his driveway and she continues her tirade, telling him he blocks the way of every car that passes down the road when he parks on the street himself.
After a few more heated words are exchanged, Cross says “yes, I used the word f—king, if you haven’t heard it before. Except for your f—cking son who dates a f—king n—ger.”
“Finally, I said it out loud,” Cross says as she walks away.
2. Cross Says She’s a ‘Dedicated News Professional’ & ‘Plant Lover’
According to Cross’s Facebook bio, she is a “Dedicated News Professional, Mom, Best Friend and Plant Lover.” Cross has been involved with Miami news for a quarter century. According to her LinkedIn page, she has worked for WSVN Channel 7 for just over 2 years as an investigative producer.
“Investigate stories that matter to viewers in the South Florida news market,” she wrote on LinkedIn of her current duties. “From story idea, story investigation, interviews, script writing, and oversee editing.
She previously worked at CBS 4 and NBC 6 in Miami, WPEC in West Palm Beach, the Sun-Sentinel, and WIOD-610 AM radio, according to Cross’s LinkedIn profile.
Cross worked as an Assignment Editor at CBS 4 for six years, according to LinkedIn. While at CBS 4, she covered breaking news, assisted reporters with fact verification and maintained relationships with police, politicians and PR outlets. She also investigated details for stories that impacted the community and executed special interest stories and field produced the live remotes.
After leaving CBS 4, Cross worked at NBC’s WTVJ for a short time as a planning editor, where she created daily reports for the Today in South Florida newscast. She also researched investigative details for long form series, wrote scripts for story submission and worked with NBC network to pitch stories for national coverage, according to her LinkedIn page.
She was employed at CBS 12 as a Special Projects Producer overseeing special reports in the investigation unit and managing reporters, photographers, producers and video editors.
3. Cross Once Trained Clients for On-Air Performance & Branding
In addition to a lengthy career in TV news production, Cross worked for a time helping people become better on television and in branding.
While with CBS 12, Cross was involved with station projects such as the Wednesday Weather Kid, consumer alert for the national feed, and the annual hurricane series. She stayed at CBS 12 for four years before moving on to Insider Media Management where she trained clients for on-air performance, advised clients on branding and promotions and oversaw promotional material for social media, according to her LinkedIn profile.
On Facebook, she writes that she went to South Plantation High School, lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and is from Hollywood, Florida. Her page doesn’t contain many public posts other than photos of her and career changes.
According to the Herald, Friday, February 9 marked her second anniversary at WSVN. Cross was put on leave shortly after the video surfaced when WSVN told her to stay home and write a statement explaining her side of the story.
4. Fenton’s Son Wrote a Letter Demanding the Station Immediately Terminate Cross
The Herald reports that Avery Fenton, a local lawyer, wrote a letter on February 7th illustrating the incident, which was sent to Tony Gonzalez, WSVN news director, along with the video.
“Your employee reduced my girlfriend to nothing other than a slur based off of the color of her skin last night,” Avery Fenton wrote.
According to the Miami New Times, the younger Fenton and his father have been sending repeated messages demanding her termination. He says the station told his father it was investigating the incident but hasn’t responded since.
“I sent it to three different people, but they haven’t responded to me,” Fenton told the New Times. “I’m an attorney, so I felt it was a well-written letter. But zero people have responded.”
Spokeswoman for WSVN Lily Pardo issued an email Monday morning to Heavy stating that Cross’s employment has been terminated.
“After conducting a thorough investigation, WSVN has terminated a 7 News producer who was caught on cellphone video using a racial slur,” the email stated. “WSVN will not tolerate any kind of discriminatory language or behavior.”
5. Cross Is Accused of Using Her Press Credentials to Intimidate Fenton
“She was using her press credentials as a weapon,” he said. “It’s saying ‘look at who I am and how much power I have. I’m gonna get you.'”
According to the New Times, Avery Fenton says that his father was met with “obscene language and verbal attacks” and that Cross was continually flashing her news credentials in his face.
“Apparently she had a work badge,” said the younger Fenton in his letter to the New Times. “The video clearly ends with her using extremely foul language, and then a personal attack on me as my father’s son, for dating my girlfriend who is African American. The most awful of racial slurs was used, followed by ‘finally I said it out loud.'”
“It was stunning for this woman to be that disgusted by just seeing her next to me,” Fenton told the New Times.
“Obviously, she [Cross] is very bigoted and there’s something wrong with her,” the elder Fenton added.