Former Fox Philly Anchor wept on the stand yesterday in his trial against the station.
Tom Burlington's lawsuit against the station was filed after he was fired for using the N-word in an editorial meeting back in 2007.
Burlington was fired in after he used the N-word during an editorial meeting in which reporters discussed the symbolic burial of the N-word by the Philadelphia Youth Council of the NAACP.
His suit claims that he was punished for his non-pejorative use of the word because he's white.
During the June 23, 2007, meeting, Burlington asked colleagues, "Does this mean we can finally say n-----?" he testified yesterday.
Newscast producer Nicole Wolfe, who was at the meeting, told Burlington afterward that she did not think there was any reasonable time to use the word. His co-anchor, Joyce Evans, told him that others were offended by his comments, according to court documents released last month.
Evans pointedly told him, according to the suit, that he would never understand what it's like to be called the N-word and was not permitted to use it because he is white. Wolfe and Evans are both black.
"I'm not black. I've never been called that," Burlington testified yesterday. "But in my life, I've been called things that are incredibly hurtful."
Nearly a week after he apologized to Wolfe, Evans and other colleagues, Burlington was given a "final warning" by station management, suspended from his job and ordered to undergo sensitivity training.
According to court documents, Burlington was declared fit to return to work after meeting with a sensitivity trainer. Still, he was fired July 12.
When asked why, a manager responded, "Because we have concerns for your safety," Burlington testified yesterday.
In court yesterday, Burlington described black employees being given greater leeway in using racial epithets. He described one incident in which anchor Dave Huddleston, who is black, referred to a criminal as "one dumb n-----" while other employees laughed.
Burlington has not been hired for another job in broadcast journalism, and instead has worked as a real estate agent.
Near the end of questioning by his attorney, Laura Carlin Mattiacci, Burlington began to cry while describing the impact of his termination on his children.
"My biggest fear is that they will someday get on the Internet and see what's being written about me - that I'm a racist," he said.