A longtime Minneapolis/St. Paul meteorologist is looking for another job after TV station KARE abruptly fired him over the weekend. Sven Sundgaard has been with the station for 14-years, but was ousted not long after he quoted a Facebook post from a local rabbi in a post of his own that referred to armed re-open protestors in the state as “white nationalist Nazi sympathizer gun fetishist miscreants.”
While the TV station didn’t specify exactly why the meteorologist was canned, they did note the firing came after “continued violations” of the station’s policies.
According to local conservative website AlphaNewsMN, there’s actually no evidence that any of the Minnesota protestors were armed at the rally to re-open the economy, though plenty of demonstrations at various state capitols in recent weeks have had attendees exercising both their First and Second Amendment rights.
I have a feeling that if Sundgaard had simply posted his objections to armed protestors without referring to them as white nationalists, Nazi sympathizers, or gun fetishists, he’d probably still be giving viewers their seven day forecast. I don’t think that reporters or meteorologists should be barred by their employers from sharing their opinions on their own social media accounts, but I also understand that if their posts are so controversial that the employee becomes a story instead of covering one, the station may decide it’s in their best interest to cut ties, and when you insult a chunk of your audience by calling them Nazi sympathizers, you shouldn’t be surprised if the station you work for takes an interest.
According to AlphaNewsMN, Sundgaard deleted the post before he was canned, but screenshots are forever, and the post was widely shared, as was the post by KARE alerting viewers to the meteorologist’s dismissal.
KARE11’s firing announcement amassed over 1,000 likes and 1,200 comments in just an hour. Many Facebook users and former Sundgaard viewers voiced their support for the network’s decision.
“Thank you for having some ethics and addressing this issue,” one commenter wrote. “Thank you Kare 11! His comments were definitely unprofessional. You did the right thing,” said another.
However, not everybody is happy to hear of the meteorologist’s dismissal. “That’s crap! He said what most are thinking,” somebody commented. “I like him even more now that I know what he said,” another person wrote.
Maybe MSNBC is looking for a weatherman. Sundgaard would likely fit in well at the network, and he could spout off his anti-gun opinions without fear of upsetting his supervisors or the majority of his audience.
I suspect, by the way, that KARE would have canned Sundgaard if he had leveled the same criticism at Gov. Tim Walz that he lobbed at the protestors objecting to Walz’s stay-at-home order. I don’t think this was a pro-protest decision by the station, but instead was just an attempt to avoid controversy. Of course, given the fact that now Sundgaard’s supporters and critics are arguing in the comments of every one of the station’s Facebook posts, I’m not sure they succeeded.