Husband and Wife Get Fired Over YouTube Video
Here's a question for you: What do you think would happen if you make profanity-laced videos about how much you hate your job and how stupid your customers are, use equipment from your employer to make the videos, and put them on YouTube?
If your answer is "get promoted," you must be living on another planet. If your answer is "get fired," you would be right.
A husband and wife who both worked on-air at KARK-TV in Little Rock, Ark., were fired this week, along with two other station employees, after two videos they made and posted on YouTube became the focus of an article by ArkansasBusiness.com.
The videos, entitled 'Report This,' feature KARK reporter Pete Thompson as a frustrated news reporter who hates his job, thinks people in Arkansas are stupid, and is desperately trying to find another job. Thompson's wife, KARK weekend anchor Courtney Collins, plays the role of Thompson's boss in the videos. Weekend sports anchor Jake Hatley also appears in the videos. Portions of the videos were shot at the TV station and others shot at actual news events that Thompson was covering, meaning that at least some of the video was shot using equipment owned by the TV station.
"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."
Thompson told reporters that he and his colleagues were putting together some videos as a test for entering a film contest.
The moral of the story is pretty clear: If you value your job, you might want to think twice about publicly dissing your employer and the people who use your services, and using your employer's resources to do it.
Watch the videos, which have since been removed from YouTube. A word of warning: they contain highly graphic language.
Geoff Roth is a 30-year veteran of the TV news business. He has hired hundreds of people and counseled both professionals and students as they hunt for jobs. Geoff is chronicling life after TV News at www.nomoredeadlines.com.
He was part of the original staff of CNN when it started up in 1980, and has worked for national and local news organizations across the country as everything from a writer to News Director. He is now rounding out his career as an Assistant Professor in the journalism department at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY.