The Pittsburgh TV Producer Who Was Fired For Calling Tom Brady A ‘Known Cheater’ Reveals How He Was Canned
Yesterday, news broke that a Pittsburgh CBS affiliate station canned one of its employees for adding a description of Tom Brady as a “known cheater” during its 4 o’clock news segment.
The station, KDKA, remained entirely humorless throughout the whole incident, saying in a statement that they “have a journalistic responsibility to provide unbiased reporting” and that the graphic “violated our news standards.”
The employee, 27-year-old Michael Telek, had been working in television news for five or six years before getting let go. Telek revealed to Deadspin how it all went down.
So, I’m a producer, I write the news and decide the order, choose what graphics show up, etc. For the 4 p.m. news, the kicker is usually soft and sweet. We get these packages that come down from corporate and it was just like, Here are the two teams in the Super Bowl, pretty boring. So I wrote the intro about the six rings and then changed it up. I mean, it’s Pittsburgh, we hate the Patriots, we hate Tom Brady, so it was a little wink for fans. Then I kept going on with my day. After the news, I left at 5 p.m.
At 5:05, my boss calls me in and she was like, You need to be here now. [My manager] said, “What were you thinking, it’s all over social media, people screenshotted it, why did you do that?” So I explained about Deflategate and everything and basically just told her my thinking. They said, “Well, we can’t have that,” and all this stuff. So anyways, on Monday they said they were going to write me up and said it would be on my record. So I’m like, “Okay, cool.” Tuesday, I went to morning meeting as usual. After the noon news, as soon as that was over, no one was talking to me. So I realized something was wrong but I thought maybe there was an eight percent chance I get fired. They said at 3 p.m., we’re going to have a meeting. Then at 4:30 they actually sat me down.
My manager takes me into the office, and she said that there had been an investigation. She said, “Because you did that deliberately, you no longer work at KDKA. Today is your last day.” So I said, “Okay,” and left. I went home and hung out with my friends.
Plot twist: The dude actually loves Tom Brady.
I’m gonna bet on Tom Brady without a doubt [to win the Super Bowl]. I love Tom Brady, I think he’s the best. It was supposed to be a little wink for all the Steelers fans. But apparently it went too far.
There has been a GoFundMe set up to assist Telek while he’s unemployed. At the time of this writing, the campaign has raised $2,000 of its $10,000 goal. Michael claims he will not accept the money, but rather donate it to a charity in Tom Brady’s name. He’s calling it the “GOAT Giveaway.”