iMediaEthics wrote last week about Jack Church, a TV meteorologist who says he was fired after he protested his station’s, Bakersfield, Calif. ABC-affiliate KERO, airing a story about the success of a local strip club during sweeps week.
Church reportedly asked the station if he could have the day off when the segment aired because he thought the program was “inappropriate material for local newscast,” according to MediaBistro. When the station went ahead with its story and he didn’t get approval to take the day off, he didn’t show for work as he viewed it an “implied endorsement” of the segment.
We asked Church by email for comment about his firing.
Church told iMediaEthics he was fired for breach of contract as his contract barred employees from missing work during sweeps weeks.
Church added that he hasn’t had any contact with his former station since being fired but has “no hard feelings.” Church wrote in an email to iMediaEthics:
“Both the station and I made choices and we now live with those consequences. It was a difficult decision on my part but at the same time it has created some healthy debate among Christians , non Christians and those associated with media about what is considered decent and in this case what I considered indecent material for local news broadcasts. I still believe the content was inappropriate for a 5 pm news broadcast.”
However, Church noted that his employment contract includes a morals clause, which he said the station “should also be held to.”
The clause, according to Church, requires employees to behave in a way consistent with “social conventions and public morals and decency.” Under the clause, Church could have been fired for acting in a way that would lead to “public disrepute, contempt, scandal or ridicule, or tend to shock, insult or offend the community, or which may reflect unfavorably upon” Church, the station, or the station’s advertisers or sponsors.
“The story in my opinion did not conform with social conventions, public morals and decency. Strip clubs are not part of mainstream society in Bakersfield and I believe it crossed the line. If you check public comment following the story in the Bakersfield newspaper it is generally running about 4 to 1 in opposition to the strip club story,” Church claimed.
UPDATE: 05/31/2011 10:07 AM EST: Corrected spelling of Christian.