Two months after she was cited for DUI for the second time, KUTV-Channel 2 anchorwoman Shauna Lake has been fired.
It’s not unexpected. KUTV management really had no choice. They did the right thing when they gave Lake a second chance after her first arrest for drunk driving three years ago; they did the right thing by releasing her this week.
Not surprisingly, Lake’s now-former bosses don’t have a lot to say about the situation.
“We don’t comment on individual personnel matters,” said KUTV general manager Kent Crawford. “But we do wish Shauna good luck in her future. We appreciate her years of service to KUTV.”
KUTV news director Michael Garber made the announcement to the newsroom and sent this email to staffers: “I just wanted you to know that Shauna is no longer with KUTV. As you are aware, she gave many years to the Salt Lake community and the station. I know we all wish her good health and happiness moving forward.”
Acknowledging Lake’s long tenure at Channel 2 — she went to work there in 1994 — is a classy way to handle it.
(Lake, 49, has not been on the air since she was cited on March 14. KUTV has not yet announced a permanent replacement to work as an anchor alongside Mark Koelbel.)
This is a sad situation all around — for Lake, for her family, for KUTV and for her longtime coworkers. The only good news is that no one was hurt in the alleged second DUI case.
In May 2017, Lake made headlines when she was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. In July of that year, she pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of impaired driving and was fined $1,406 and placed on probation for a year.
Lake also issued a public apology on one of KUTV’s newscasts for her “serious lapse in judgment.” She was, she said, “ashamed and humiliated. ... And I just hope over time, night by night, you can learn to trust me again.”
Publicly, at least, the incident faded into the background. Until news broke that on March 14, she’d once again been cited for DUI. (That case has yet to be resolved. A pretrial conference is scheduled for July 9.)
You could argue that Lake is being held to a higher standard than most. Not everybody would lose their job over this, even after a second arrest. And very few people would have to apologize publicly the way Lake did after her first arrest.
But public figures are held to higher standards. And Lake represented her employers as a public face of KUTV.
That’s what Lake signed up for when she took the job, and it’s news when a lead anchor at a local television station loses her job after a pair of DUI arrests.
Odds are that even a newspaper television critic would end up as a news story if he was arrested for DUI once, let alone twice.
That does not, however, mean that any of us need to revel in the misfortune of others. Over the past couple of months, I’ve gotten several emails demanding more details about Lake’s arrest and her personal life. I was never going to write about that.
At the same time, another emailer was under the impression that reporting on Lake’s arrest amounted to “character assassination.” That’s flat-out wrong. Reporting facts is not an attack.
That said, I can only repeat what I wrote three years ago. I hope that Lake can get her life and her career back on track. I wish only the best for her.