The North Dakota television career of a West Virginia University graduate was short-lived.

KFYR video capture

A.J. Clemente’s on-air F-bomb led to his firing Monday.

A.J. Clemente was fired Monday morning, the day after using profanity during his first, and subsequently last, news broadcast. The video of the broadcast has gone viral.

Clemente didn’t know his microphone was on when he whispered the profanities on KFYR in Bismark, N.D. He initially was suspended Sunday night, when news director Monica Hannan wrote on the station’s Facebook page:

“I want to apologize for an incident that occurred prior to our early newscast this evening, when one of our employees used profanity on 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.”

Station management fired Clemente Monday morning, at which time Clemente addressed the incident in two Tweets:

♦ “Unfortunately KFYRTV has decided to let me go. Thank you to them and everyone in ND for the opportunity and everyone for the support.”

♦ “Rookie mistake. I’m a free agent.Cant help but laugh at myself and stay positive.Wish i didnt trip over my “Freaking Shoes” out of the gate.”

 

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Comments

  • CaptainQ

    Reminds me of radio personality Dr. Johnny Fever from the old TV sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati. The 'reason' Dr. Fever came to WKRP to work in the first place was because he got himself fired from his previous radio DJ job in LA for uttering a word that's on the FCC profanity list ON THE AIR. Based on Dr. Johnny Fever's success on the rebound, perhaps there's hope for AJ after all.

  • Sammy

    Speaks volumes for WVU grads. I'm guessing he went through the same degree path as Heather Bresch.

  • Jonus Grumby

    As a broadcaster for over 35 years, I feel he should have been fired. That being said, he deserves a second chance from another station. Good luck Mr. Clemente. There is no shame to being fired in broadcasting. If you've been in the 'biz & it hasn't happened to you, then you haven't been in it long enough.

  • CaptainQ

    I have an idea! Could A.J. come to work for WV MetroNews? I wonder if John Rease would hire him? Based on his 'past record', probably not.

  • Scott

    big deal. its a curse word. he'll move on, and so should everyone else. everyone takes everything so serious

  • hailey

    Nice job AJ, glad that college degree is not going to waste!.... oh maybe it is

  • Brian

    Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism strikes again! What a joke.

    Also, is the roadkill bill not a good reason to blast WV, Capn?

    • CaptainQ

      Not when other states ALREADY had it on their books and the late night 'talking heads' gave them all a pass on it. ONLY when the bill passed in WV did they lampoon the state mercilessly.

  • Jrizzle

    The guy was obviously terrified at his first day on the job. I imagine reporting news live on the air is a bit more difficult than spouting opinions online, like we are all comfortable doing. He should have been trained more by the station prior to being put on the air. Shame on them for not taking the time to set him up for success. Shame on him for not thinking before speaking.

    • hailey

      ugh... this one is on AJ

      • Jrizzle

        Agreed. My point is more to all of the people kindly pointing out what an idiot aj might be. It's easy to sit on your laptop or iPhone and call someone an idiot for doing something that 99% of us don't have the nerves to do. AJ will end up just fine after all of this. Don't know the guy, but wish him the best.

  • Mike M

    The young man was nervous and made a serious mistake. It's a reflection of a society and day to day language that has become all too casual. We previously used profanity to insult or to emphasize a point, now many drop the F bomb like second nature. It's true - politicians and celebrities get away with it all the time. David Ortiz (Big Popi) stood in the middle of Fenway Park and used the F bomb - no problem; "he spoke from his heart". Don't let this incident reflect on WV or WVU. There are students doing great things at WVU: medicine, engineering, etc., and yes - even Journalism! If Eliot Sptizer can go from Client #9 to a cable show, and Bill Clinton survive impeachment, surely AJ deserves a shot at redemption. In any event, this is indeed a teachable moment (don't you hate that phrase) for young reporters. BTW, where was the TV station's time delay?? Surely this guy could have used some help. Go Mountaineers!

  • Larry

    Yeah, to me that was almost worse than the cursing, it made absolutely no sense.

  • WVIRGINIAN FOR LIFE

    We have become a zero tolerance and one mistake society. Although I don't blame the TV station for the firing, I hope someone else gives him another chance. Politicians mess up all the time and they continue to learn and perform their job. The little guy never survives.

  • CaptainQ

    I called it yesterday! I knew the late night comedians would take this story and run with it. I couldn't watch all four of the late night talk shows (Letterman, Conan, Leno and Fallon) at the same time, but I did catch the first few minutes of Jimmy Fallon's show and sure enough, he was spoofing A.J. Clemente! Don't know what the others did, but I'm sure A.J. was a part of their opening monologues too.

    A.J.'s actions on TV actually makes the cast of BuckWild look SMART in comparison! HEY! Maybe MTV could make their next 'we wanna make fun of people' reality show around Mr. Clemente! At least it'd give A.J. a job where dropping 'F-bombs' is normal.

    • Hop'sHip

      Letterman used him as inspiration for his top ten list, which puts him in the same category with Sarah Palin and Herman Cain.

      Top Ten Signs Your First Day As A News Anchor Didn’t Go Well
      10. Well, you’re wearing two neckties
      9. Kept mispronouncing your own name
      8. Weatherman tells you to expect an 80% chance of unemployment
      7. Your tearful, on-air admission of falsifying your resume
      6. Referring to Kim Jong Un as “Our great and powerful leader”
      5. No one appreciated your Walter Conkite impression
      4. Last story of the broadcast announced a job opening for a news anchor

      Maybe he can land a role in the next sequel of Anchorman. I'm sure Ron Burgundy would take him under his wing.

      • Jonus Grumby

        I remember when Letterman used to be funny.

  • thornton

    The apology speaks louder and worse than the action.
    Making excuses early and ignoring a bad action is a wonderful path to habit.
    The world will indeed still spin following this...I do imagine the world may even be blamed for spinning now.

  • andy

    He seems like a good guy and big deal - we all make mistakes; especially on our first shot at anchoring. He'll land on his feet again.

    • Larry

      I doubt it. That is one he won't recover from, you'll see him selling cars or insurance in the future.

  • Teufel

    Big deal, he didn't do anything a lot of seasoned anchors haven't. Just a minor set back he will recover and laugh about this one for years to come