Every once in awhile, Karla Amezola will get a reminder of her old life. A passenger will get into her car and recognize her from TV.
She will acknowledge that yes, it’s her. She used to be an anchor on KRCA, the flagship station of Estrella TV, a Spanish-language TV network. Some of them even know that she was fired in February after filing a lawsuit claiming her boss had been sexually harassing her for years.
“Those people ask me what I’m doing,” she says. “They start to share things that happened to them — females and men — and that’s amazing. After the trip I ask for their contact information.”
Amezola has become the Gretchen Carlson of Spanish TV news. For years, she made secret recordings of Andres Angulo, the station’s news director, whom she alleges made numerous graphic sexual advances, and held out the promise of career opportunities in exchange for sex. Following her lawsuit, other women came forward to say that Angulo had also harassed them. The station conducted an internal investigation, and Angulo tendered his resignation on the same day she was fired. The station is now seeking to force her claim into private arbitration.
Carlson, who helped bring down Fox News chief Roger Ailes after being fired last year, is flourishing in her life after TV news, working on a book and a documentary on sexual harassment.
Amezola, meanwhile, is driving for Uber and Lyft.
“As a result of all these things that happened to me, this year and this last year, I felt devastated,” she says. “My work, my job — my career — were gone. I had to move on, and like everyone I had to pay the rent.”
Driving for Uber and Lyft was the first thing that occurred to her. She says she wasn’t ready to return to an office environment, and enjoys the freedom of being her own boss.
“I take my lunchtime at the beach,” she says. “I have my backpack in the trunk. I take in the sun, and I write and eat. And then I start to work again.”
A couple of weeks ago, she got another reminder of her old life when a former co-worker called to tell her that she had been nominated for a local Emmy. The story, “Atrapados en la Frontera,” is a multi-part investigation of Haitian refugees stranded in Tijuana.
“I’m from Tijuana,” she says. “I knew the things they were experiencing, and it’s tragic for them. We did the best we can to show this story and present the things they were going through. This is a very special story for me.”
Amezola says she plans to return to journalism at some point, and is not worried about being blackballed in TV news. In the meantime, she often interviews her passengers to hear their stories.
“I’m a woman. I’m a journalist. I will be a journalist for the rest of my life,” she says. “Sometimes we have to do another thing. But there’s no shame. I feel strong. I feel like, people come here to work. I can do that. Why is it going to be different for me? But at the end, I will be working at what I like to do, which is journalism.”