Several reporters and photographers at Nexstar’s KARK-TV (NBC) Little Rock were apparently involved in producing two profanity-laden videos on the station premises and posting them on YouTube. A local business newspaper found about the spoof videos and four employees were fired by the station on Friday.
In the first of the two videos in the “Report This!!!” series reporter Pete Thompson says “I hate my job” and fantasizes about leaving Central Arkansas for a dream job in Miami. Now he has no job. Although the station logo was pixilated, Thompson made no effort to disguise himself, except to use the name “Pete Johnson,” nor did others who participated in the video shoots.
Arkansas Business became aware of the YouTube videos and posted a story about them on Thursday. The videos were quickly removed from YouTube. Too late. Arkansas Business had already snared copies and posted them here.
According to Arkansas Business, Thompson was fired along with weekend anchor Courtney Collins, who portrayed the station news director in the videos, weekend sports anchor Jake Hatley and photographer Chris Jameson. Several other employees reportedly received three-day suspensions.
“In a very unfortunate series of incidents, a number of KARK employees acted on their own accord to produce unauthorized, offensive and distasteful videos that were subsequently posted to the internet. I am personally shocked and saddened by the behavior of these employees. KARK has no tolerance for this type of behavior and messages that degrade and discredit our community and our employees. As a result, those involved have faced swift and appropriate disciplinary action. On behalf of the dedicated team members of KARK who take great pride in their community and profession, I would like to extend our sincerest apologies,” said Nexstar Sr. Vice President Rick Rogala in an email statement sent to RBR-TVBR. Rogala is the General Manager of KARK and KARZ-TV (MyNet).
RBR-TVBR observation: It’s one of those “what were they thinking?” cases. It may have been intended as a joke, but insulting the local community and denigrating your employer, even in jest, is just begging to be fired.