AJ Clemente, news anchor for KFYR Bismarck, North Dakota NBC affiliate, was fired his first day on air for mumbling curse words.
AJ Clemente’s co-anchor, Van Tieu, was introducing him at the start of the Sunday evening news, he didn’t realize his microphone was on and let his nerves get the best of him, then let slip a couple of curse words. “F—ing sh-t,” he was heard whispering.
“That couldn’t have gone any worse,” AJ Clemente tweeted after the gaffe. “Tough day, thanks for the support, we all make mistakes. I’m truly sorry for mine. I’ll try my hardest to come back better and learn from this.”
The station later posted an apology online, and Van Tieu expressed regrets during the 10 p.m. broadcast. “Rest assured something like this will never happen again,” Tieu told viewers.
The NBC affiliate said in a statement that Clemente was suspended following the Sunday evening broadcast. General manager Dick Heidt says he can’t discuss the incident because it’s a personnel matter.
“Unfortunately, KFYRTV has decided to let me go,” A.J. Clemente tweeted. “Thank you to them and everyone in ND for the opportunity and everyone for the support.”
The station’s news director, Monica Hannan posted an apology to viewers Sunday night on the KFYR-TV Facebook page saying, “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.”
She went on writing, “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.”
By Tuesday, more than 1,500 people responded to the post, some even asking the station to reconsider their decision saying the station overreacted.
Linn wrote, “I think we’re all adults and are quite capable of getting over it. It’s a non-issue. You don’t incorporate profanity in your newscasts, and everyone makes a mistake now and again, so let them off the hook and proceed as normal. We can all have a sympathetic chuckle. (And feel a little better about our own goofs.)”
Viewer Deanna pointed out, “The news itself is way more offensive than AJ’s language. It’s soooo much easier to explain to my kids why he used curse words than it is to explain why someone killed 20+ kindergarteners or why men randomly set off a bomb to kill and mame people.”
Local News Anchor’s First Day on the Job: Says “F***ing S***” Live on Air
Tough first day on the job for AJ Clemente at a North Dakota local news station.
Bismarck’s NBC News apologizes for A.J. Clemente’s profanity
At the start of the 10:00pm broadcast, Van Tieu apologizes for A.J. Clemente cussing on air during the KFYR TV 5:00 news.