A.J. Clemente had a bad first day at work. But then, who hasn’t? Apparently, his nerves over going live for the first time, mixed with his inability to to pronounce the names of some marathon winners, led him to swear. He dropped the f-bomb on live TV, followed by the s-bomb. After that, the newscast becomes an exercise in complete awkwardness as his co-host tries to keep it together. You can see it here, the offending words bleeped out for your sanctification; the hilarity is left for your enjoyment .
What happens next is fairly predictable: he got fired. After all, you are not allowed to drop f-bombs on TV during newscasts. New stations get fined for that sort of thing, and it is rather unprofessional, as Clemente himself admits. What happened after that is not so predictable. Clemente got to go on Letterman, and he also got hired to work the red carpet at a Pierce Brosnan movie premier.
That’s where things get really crazy. How on earth did this guy become a folk hero by acting so unprofessionally? It was bone-headed, and people have gotten fired for such mistakes before. But somehow, this guy has garnered the sympathy of David Letterman himself.
Think of his poor co-anchor who tried to recover from his inappropriate remarks. She stared wide-eyed at the camera thinking, “Oh $@#!, did he just say what I think he said?” But she had the professionalism not to say it out loud. She didn’t even laugh when he introduced himself by saying, “I’m used to being from in the east coast.” The next day, he is on Letterman while she is stuck in Bismarck, North Dakota! Who’s cussing now, I wonder?
I hope that seeing Clemente’s success doesn’t begin a wave of “accidental swearing” in order to move up the news anchor ladder. If it does, I can understand the attraction. I tried to get my editor to put “Guy says F***in S*** on TV, gets to go on Letterman and meet Pierce Brosnan”, but he declined. (Way to take the high road, Rich.)
Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but it seems bizarre to me that we live in a world where swearing accidentally garners support and a raise while professionalism and integrity seemingly go unrewarded. Kind of makes me want to cuss.