Say hello to the most disastrous start to a television career in the history of moving pictures inside little boxes and/or flat screens. A.J. Clemente was all ready to make his debut as a weekend news anchor for the NBC station in Bismarck, North Dakota when for some insane reason he uttered a few choice swear words right as the camera turned to him. The ensuing scene is like a bad dream wrapped inside a nightmare wrapped inside a scene from local access television…
Oops. Even co-anchor Van Tieu was thrown off by Clemente's impromptu cursing and the newscast goes off the rails for a solid minute. This is like the Jean Van de Velde of news bloopers. How in the world do you make "f*ckin sh*t" your greeting to a new television audience? That's a memorable first impression if I've ever seen one!
Unfortunately, KFYR wasn't in the mood to give Clemente a mulligan, posting this message on its Facebook page noting the anchor had been the victim of the fastest suspension ever seen in local news…
"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."
It's easy to make fun of poor A.J. but this kind of thing happens to everyone. Ok, that's a complete lie, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't feel some sympathy for him. Already there's a mini #SaveAJ campaign on Twitter to make sure he returns from his suspension and pretty much every comment on the KFYR post is in support of Clemente and realizing it was a very nervous very honest mistake.
Clemente shouldn't get too discouraged. If Brian Collins can come back from this and build something resembling a TV career, anything is possible.
UPDATE: #SaveAJ failed.
Unfortunately KFYRTV has decided to let me go. Thank you to them and everyone in ND for the opportunity and everyone for the support.
— A.J. Clemente (@ClementeAJ) April 22, 2013