AETV commissioner accuses Alabama PTV employees of possible perjury

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In a meeting Tuesday (Sept. 25), a member of the Alabama Educational Television Commission accused two Alabama Public Television employees of giving false information during a recent court hearing, the Birmingham News reports.

“We had two employees testify under oath to false information,” said Rodney Herring, a chiropractor from Opelika, Ala. “There’s a side of that where you could go so far as to say that’s perjury, there’s a side of that that maybe they just didn’t know what the heck was going on.” Herring was referring to testimony in August that was part of a lawsuit filed by former APT Executive Director Allan Pizzato over his abrupt June termination.

APT Executive Assistant Paula Drinkard interrupted Herring, indicating she was one of the employees he was referencing. “Do I just need to resign?” she said. “I don’t need to continue here if my integrity is being questioned.”

Herring responded, “I think that’s something you need to discuss with Roy [Clem],” APT’s new executive director.

Pizzato’s attorney, Mark White, later issued a statement regarding Herring’s accusations, saying in part that “the threats lodged against the APT employees who testified in this litigation pursuant to subpoena are an attempt to retaliate against them for their testimony and an effort to intimidate other potential witnesses from speaking out.”

Pizzato’s lawsuit has been stayed by the Alabama Supreme Court. The suit revealed that station management had been under pressure to air religious videos from controversial evangelical activist David Barton and that APT’s mission statement had been reworked to remove a section emphasizing diversity, specifically the phrase “sexual orientation.”