Sinclair Ousts Washington TV Vet Maureen Bunyan

The WJLA anchor was the first African American woman in the country to anchor an evening newscast

Advocates are rallying around longtime WJLA Washington anchor Maureen Bunyan, who was the first African American woman in the country to anchor an evening newscast, following news that Sinclair Broadcast Group won’t be renewing her contract.

Critics are lighting up social media denouncing the move, the latest in a series of firings at the ABC affiliate since Sinclair bought it less than three years ago. Two anchors, a sports anchor and two sports reporters have also been let go, as have producers and photographers, according to The Washington Post.

Bunyan, who anchors the ABC affiliate’s 6 p.m. newscast, has been a fixture on Washington TV for 44 years. Bunyan’s station bio credits her with being the newsroom’s leading advocate for women and minorities.

She is also a founder of the National Association of Black Journalists. Bunyan has been honored with numerous professional and community service awards including being named "Washingtonian of the Year" in 1992.