News anchor fired after opening first broadcast with profanity

WiG

A weekend co-anchor for an NBC affiliate in Bismarck, N.D., has lost his job after opening his first broadcast with a curse and what some viewers heard as an anti-gay remark.

A.J. Clemente, apparently not realizing his microphone was on, clearly said at the opening of the broadcast, “f—ing sh-t.” It’s not as clear whether he said “gay f—ing sh-t,” as many listeners heard, or made, as he claimed, an attempt to say the first name of the winner of the London Marathon – Tsegaye Kebede.

Later, on his Twitter account, Clemente said, “That couldn’t have gone any worse!”

He also stated, in remarks found at towelroad.com, “Tough day, Thanks for the support, We all make mistakes. Im truly sorry for mine. I’ll try my hardest to come back better and learn from this…I just want to say that I did not say the word gay, I was trying to pronounce the London Marathon winners name Tsegaye Kebede…I would never disrespect anybody in that matter. Once again I’m truly sorry.”

On the station’s Facebook page, KFYR-TV news director Monica Hannan said, “To all of you who are writing in…I want to apologize for an incident that occurred prior to our early newscast this evening, when one of our employees used profanity on the air.

“He did not realize his microphone was on, but still, that’s no excuse. WE train our reporters to always assume that any microphone is live at any time. Unfortunately, that was not enough in this case. WE can’t take back what was said. The person involved has been suspended until we resolve the situation. All we can do at this point is ask for your forgiveness, and I can offer my personal assurance that I will do my best to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again under my watch.”

Early on April 22, Clemente tweeted that the station had “decided to let me go. Thank you to them and everyone in ND for the opportunity and everyone for the support.”