Years Before Shooting, Vester Flanagan's Big TV Break Turned Sour

Part 2: Flanagan, who later used the name Bryce Williams, sued a Tallahassee TV station for discrimination.
7:34 | 08/29/15

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Years Before Shooting, Vester Flanagan's Big TV Break Turned Sour
Continue with torn twenties tragedy on TV there. A look behind me yes you can say this is a road to nowhere. An aspiring to get to network's television and local reporters will often tell you they're real his everything over comes just. What makes compilation of clips that show Hazen correspondents on air charisma. And creativity. In investor Flanagan tastes are not so much a man and did the dog. It happened Friday morning when police were looking for the suspect. Look at that dog renewal movement more than fining him hasn't struggled in smaller TV markets around the country for years I've never making his mark in the media. Mr. Flanagan W two's seniors. But ironically in those fateful morning hours of Wednesday. Flanagan would produce some of his own demise men that have to others like he would one of his news packages not on TV that filming it on his phone spewing bitterness and frustration on social media. This is a small amount you look at me you respect me I'm not a bad person these are bad people and I got rid of them. Obviously none of that makes any rational sense that in his mind. He's sort of hit the jackpot of attention getting. Before it all went so wrong plant begins life seemingly started full of promise here in that other city by the bay. Oakland California. At skyline high school proud home of the titans. Flanagan was one of those cool kids his yearbook shows a popular and outgoing student who was voted junior prom court prints brawl with you girls Wear an alabaster but he wasn't really dating him. He was investor's guide school very good looking and it turns out the reason Flanagan didn't like to date girls was because he preferred guys I Tamar for a. Ally will no investor but Dickey and that he might be gave way. That they bag being in it wasn't that Dana come out as gay black male. As shown on his Twitter feed since an early age Flanagan is good looks landed him work as a part time model. But his real dream was to make it big in television news he majored in broadcast journalism at San Francisco State University. And also landed an intern ship at KP IXTV in San Francisco. Live in the Eyewitness News Laurie made an impression on former anchor Barbara Rogers in the years that I knew him in the early ninety's he was like so many other young people who come through the newsroom. Happy to be in the TV station happy to have his foot in the door on his first. Eager to do a good job. Flanagan launched his on air career in relative obscurity and dusty oil rich Midland Texas. Story filed reports for OK MID television. After a brief stint. He moved on to this banish muscle oak trees and antebellum homes of Savannah Georgia who's reporting what WTO seat. Easier here in Savannah small businesses powerful one point six billion dollars and everyone was just starting out so. There was a lot of energy a lot of ambition. Elaine Reyes was another young fresh faced reporter at WD OC who never saw anything sinister lurking behind planning ends million dollar smile. We're gonna go inside and check out bickering I didn't personally have any issues with him. He was sometimes silly or goofy as I think maybe the all convened in stressful newsrooms he seems like any other. Young reporter trying to. Make it in the world. But there was one thing that seemed to set him apart she says with a laser focused ambition. To be famous. T go out and shook his own stories and a three piece suit think it was because he had ambitions for greater things. He wanted to be an anchor he wanted to move up to bigger markets. And in 1999. And it looked like he shifted finally come in here in the Florida Panhandle Tallahassee the sunshine State's capital. Flanagan landed his promising job with the WT WC. Don Schaefer. Was the news direct. He did a pretty good job he had here's a funny guy he could do good live shots he did speak and walk and talk him. And we actually you know he did so well for us we actually moved him into a an anchor slot finally tonight a day at the beach brings in big bucks for the American Cancer Society. Flanagan settled into this Tallahassee apartment complex convinced that his career was about to take off. Our best part they have organized. But it was all about to go south and a watershed moment one day when Schaefer says Flanagan showed up for work not in that three piece suit. But in tights. Garrison questions about whether or not he was gay or not he had heard some comments over the the head phones in the studio when he was anchoring and some other times. Where they were making fun of them are making comments about him you know zoom in on the gay boy or have him turn as head or something like that. And he really took exception to that. Schaffer says that was a turning point for Flanagan all of a sudden the formally affable reporter turned on his colleagues lashing out at any perceived slight. The station's meteorologist Nancy dig in and says she was one of the targets of flat against hostilities. After she told him he made a small mistake during a broadcast in. He used the term on air opening arguments on us its opening statements not opening arguments he came over. And he started pretty quickly yelling at me come and when I say yelling screaming. Tom you're not my news director you're not my general manager and on and on and on. And us a little intimidated and nerve. Yes in barely a year Schaffer says the situation at the station had become intolerable. And he was forced to fire Flanagan. But that wasn't the end of it Schaffer says Flanagan tried to sue the station for sexual discrimination. If you are attorneys and through his attorney. We had to tell them that being gay was not a protected class and he had no grounds to sue over that so then he quickly changed it to racial discrimination. In the suit lanigan claimed a producer called a love monkey and at other blacks who ridiculed as lazy I thought that he was. Deeply troubled by the comments that had been making hound his attorney at the time marine medics says she found Flanagan allegations credible. He was consistent. And consistently told me the same thing that it happened. He appeared to be hurt. By what had happened and in telling the story. I felt that he was genuine. And terms of what he represented to me. I absolutely researched each and every one of those in the people who said they made him and I think I couldn't find anything that GM and I both got involved with that corporates and in some people injected out we. We did pretty thorough investigation and didn't really find much evidence of that at all. In the end the suit was settled out of court but would his career in TV now in tatters Flanagan was on a different path. One destruction that would lead him here. Today unsuspecting. Roanoke station WD BJ. In an explosive confrontations. Slammed his does that. You looked at me into what costs it said that it need these.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"duration":"7:34","description":"Part 2: Flanagan, who later used the name Bryce Williams, sued a Tallahassee TV station for discrimination.","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/2020","id":"33396977","title":"Years Before Shooting, Vester Flanagan's Big TV Break Turned Sour","url":"/2020/video/years-shooting-vester-flanagans-big-tv-break-turned-33396977"}