PBS Boss Defends Firing Willard, Says Arrest Would Be 'Distraction' For Market Warriors

PBS on Saturday defended its decision to fire Fred Willard as host and narrator of Market Warriors following his arrest on Wednesday evening on suspicion of committing a lewd act in public.

President and CEO Paula Kerger told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s annual summer press tour on Sunday that there was “concern [that his] circumstance would become a distraction for the series.”

On Thursday, Jeanne Hopkins — president of PBS station WGBH, which produces the program — said in a statement, “Given the unfortunate news reported today, effective immediately Fred Willard will no longer be involved with the Market Warriors series. It’s something we felt was important to decide, and given the trust of our audiences, we wanted to move forward.”

Antiques Roadshow host Mark Walberg was tapped to replace Willard.

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  1. Brooke says:

    This might be a very silly question, but…what exactly are adult movie theaters for? Do people really go to them and just sit and watch the movie like they’re at a normal theater? It’s not like Fred Willard went to a showing of Madagascar 3 at the Pacific Theater at The Grove and did something lewd there.

  2. I love that we now live in a society where a mere allegation of doing anything wrong can get you fired from a job, regardless of actual guilt or innocence. People have gotten ridiculous.

    • ben says:

      Actaully, thats pretty much true for all of time, not just this day and age. Perception is everything; it always has been. Even if they knew for a fact he was innocent they still likely might have made the same decision.

      • So if they knew for a FACT he was innocent and fired him just for being accused you think that is ok? That is exactly what is wrong with the vast majority of the people in this country. Your mind has been polluted by the mob mentality justice that the 24 hour news cycle propagates. There are those of us that would rather wait and see the evidence against anyone accused of a crime, big or small, and then decide the proper course of action. Why? Because knee jerk reactions are the absolute worst thing anyone can do.

  3. Kate says:

    I think that’s an odd comment to make given that I would be willing to bet most people had never heard of Market Warriors before he got arrested. If anything it would have brought more attention to the show.

    • Allison P says:

      Exactly what I was thinking. I only saw one article about the arrest, but I’ve seen numerous articles focused on this firing.

  4. Templar says:

    Apparently he was arrested on a similar charge in the 1990s. Error in judgement x2.

    • MuzzikLvr says:

      Templar, where are you getting your information from? I have not seen that mentioned anywhere before, and I’m sure if it were true, it would be included in every report.

  5. Britta Unfiltered says:

    It’s a strange thing for people to be getting up in arms over. It’s PBS’ show, and they can do what they want. People get fired every day for doing a lot less. I’m sure Fred Willard will be okay. He got a pretty light punishment from the judge and I’m sure he will get more acting jobs in the future. People are acting like he was sentenced to life in prison and a lot of people have become surprisingly pro-penis-out-in-public over this. I personally find it gross and will never be able to see him the same way again, but I’m judgy about sex crimes like that. Won’t be able to get that image out of my head for a long time. But it doesn’t matter what I think, because Fred Willard is probably going to end up okay and will most likely still get jobs. People shouldn’t be overdramatic about the whole thing. There’s more important things in life to fight for then Fred Willard’s job status.

  6. TigerNightmare says:

    The thing is, people love Fred Willard more than they are grossed out by what he allegedly did. I’m kind of amazed that porno theaters still exist when there’s like 30 porn versions of YouTube out there. You might find it gross, but this kind of thing probably happens regularly at these places. It’s not as if someone called the police, they just routinely shake places down to generate fines. What concerns me more than the horrible, horrible sight of his penis that kills anyone who dares to directly look at it is how this got to the press in the first place. Some opportunistic slime looking for a payday at someone else’s expense.

  7. Keenan says:

    Oh for god’s sake. He wasn’t in the middle of a park. We all know what happens in a adult theatres.