Suspended WUSA Anchor JC HaywardShe hasn’t appeared at a public event or on air since. It’s been 80 days.
She's been gone from the station ever since the D.C. attorney general filed a lawsuit naming her as one of five people involved in an effort to divert millions of dollars from a city charter school for troubled teens.
The Washington Post writes that it is unclear when Hayward might return to broadcasting, but WUSA has hinted that they’re waiting for the end of the Options legal wranglings. Mark Burdett, WUSA’s general manager described Hayward as “a leader in the community” who has been “a mentor to young people aspiring to work in TV for decades.”
“All of us here at WUSA are hoping for a speedy resolution to these legal proceedings,” Burdett said.
People close to Hayward said she is dividing her time between one condominium at Leisure World in Silver Spring and another near Fort Lauderdale. Her decades-old daily rhythm has been upended, her solid reputation unsettled. Her friends are unbowed.
“She’s the kindest and most giving person I have ever known,” said Tina Wright, who has known Hayward since they pledged the Delta Sigma Theta sorority at North Carolina Central University more than 50 years ago. “She wouldn’t take a dime from anyone.”
Hayward declined to be interviewed for this story. On Wednesday, D.C. Superior Court Judge Craig Iscoe is scheduled to consider Hayward’s request to be removed as a defendant in the civil lawsuit.
Hayward, now in her late 60s, made a name for herself in television news at a time when female anchors — and especially African American female anchors — were rare. Then she held on as generations of news directors and station executives came and went.
Her fans see her as a survivor, particularly after she announced on-air in April 2012 that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. WUSA broadcast segments on Hayward’s treatment — an effort, she said, to raise awareness among other women.
Andrea Roane, who has worked alongside Hayward at WUSA for more than 30 years, said that she can’t imagine what her friend has gone through since the Options allegations surfaced. But “she’s strong, she has her faith, and she’s going to fight,” Roane said. “We’re all anxious for this to be resolved and for her to come back.”
But, right now she sits outside public view waiting to see what happens to her future in TV news.