A joint complaint from Republican Party of Florida and the campaign Scotty Moore, Republican candidate for Congressional District 9accuses WESH-2 News of breaking Florida law when the station denied Moore access to a political debate for not having up-to-date COVID vaccine documentation.
Moore was invited, along with his opponent, to a debate organized by WESH-2 on September 8. Upon arriving at the television studios, the Republican was required to document in writing whether he had received the latest COVID-19 vaccinations. When he revealed he hadn’t, Moore was not allowed to argue.
“WESH-2’s decision to cancel the Congressional District 9 debate due to a candidate’s vaccination status is discriminatory, illegal, and will not be ignored by the Republican Party of Florida,” the RPOF Chairman said, Joe Gruters. “It is more than absurd that in 2022, as Florida has passed the COVID-19 pandemic, our Republican candidates will be discriminated against based on their private medical decisions.”
Moore reportedly offered alternatives to the WESH-2 requirements, such as taking a rapid test, but was declined. At least one other Republican was also reportedly barred from participating. WESH-2 News’ parent company, Hearst Television, requires COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees and guests.
“Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature have made it clear that COVID passports and vaccination requirements will not be tolerated in our state,” Gruters continued. “WESH-2 and Hearst Television must be held accountable for breaking Florida law and should schedule a new in-person debate at their studio as soon as possible so Central Florida voters can make informed decisions on the day. of the poll.”
The RPOF argues that the policy violates a law passed by the Legislative Assembly and signed by Governor DeSantis in 2021 that prohibits companies from requiring documentation of the COVID-19 vaccine.