Ahhhh…. I’m on this guy’s side. Everyone makes mistakes fresh out of school at a new job. A.J. just happened to do it “on air.”
“Fuckin’ shit” were A.J. Clemente’s first words on air as he started a news anchoring job with Bismarck, North Dakota NBC affiliate KFYR. That job didn’t last very long, as Clemente was quickly fired. On Wednesday, he appeared on Today to respond.
“Gut-wrenching” was how Clemente described the mistake, noting that he wasn’t aware that he’d uttered those words on camera until the third break. “We came on 30 seconds early,” he informed, adding that he was trying to figure out how to pronounce names in an upcoming story about the London Marathon. In any case, what he said was “inexcusable.”
Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer both sympathized, with the former pointing our that Clemente had no earpiece. “No cue, no countdown,” Clemente added.
As for losing his job? “I fully expected that they would fire me,” he said, noting that he had “no animosity at all” because of it.
“You’ve got to have a tough skin in this business,” he added, and the ability to laugh at yourself.
All about second chances, Lauer then had Clemente take it away with the preview of upcoming stories, as they headed into a commercial break. (No bleeps this time around.)