I was fired. (And Jeff’s Life: Update)

So, I was fired from my job in TV news on August 26th, 2011. I had porn on my work PC. (But wait, there’s more!)

Over the five years I’d worked there, producing a weekday morning TV show. (About six years before that working in the studio.) I’ve visited a website called 4chan. You may know it, it’s the site that the “hacker group Anonymous” (who shut down Visa’s and MasterCard’s sites in late 2010 over the Wikileaks thing, and hacked Sony earlier in 2011) is often associated with.

Now, porn? Sure, I looked at nude women on the site. It has lots of that, too. LOTS. I actually befriended some of the people who post it. They’re good people. (And at least one has a pretty good eye for photography!) A few others have a good eye for porn, and that’s fine too.

My point in all this? It’s not like I was looking at the porn at work. The site actually has valid uses too, right amongst the porn and foul shit it gleefully offers.

4chan is also the site that, back in 2006 when I first started producing, was (wrongly) targeted for a(n unfounded) bomb threat on NFL stadiums. Though I knew of it before, that was the first time I visited the site; to find info about the bomb threats because of my job. The scary part? Over the years? It’s clued me in on lots of things.

I ran a story on Visa and Mastercard’s websites being shut down the morning it happened. I wrote the story before it even happened, because I knew it was coming. I got the story from 4chan, when they were planning it. Hell, it’s where I heard about Wikileaks years ago before they got that cache of US communications. Back then they disrupting Kenyan elections! (Also soon after I got the producing job in 2006!) It was where I first read about Wikileaks’ initial release of the “Collateral Murder” video and the “Cablegate” releases. The place is an info-feed on steroids. And like much of the Internet, lots of it happens to be sexual, and/or horrible, dark things.

In the UK, I could’ve claimed I was doing research for Page 3. In south Georgia, visiting a site that’s the cultural engine of the Internet, and thus much of Western society (seriously, let that sink in. It really is.) is a firing offense.

And not just being fired, but being told I could not procure (myself, or have provided) material to use for my resume for future jobs. I effectively have to start over in this industry, I’m finding out. I recently had an interviewer tell me that they’d like to give me a second chance, but without resume material, I had no chance. (In my industry, most people require a copy of a show you’ve produced as example of your work ability.)

I hope this doesn’t come off as whining and bitching, at least not too much. I actually liked the people I worked with. And actually? I get that this is a big issue. But being fired for visiting a site that, despite having a horrible “worthwhile:waste” ratio, can be worthwhile depending on the context? Man. That sucks.

I wrote most of the above (minus the last two paragraphs) that day, but never got around to posting it. The same day, my mother was found on the floor of her apartment. She’d been there 20 hours, and was very dehydrated. (She’d been sick, and hadn’t been taking care of herself well.) We almost lost her. She’s better now, thankfully. Got out of the hospital a couple of weeks ago. Oddly, I think that took some of the edge off of focusing on the job thing. First, for having a larger worry, and after the first week, when we realized she was going to be okay.

So, yeah. Busy times. But, I forgot I had this as a draft until today, so, I added and published it.

Anyone out there know know of anyone hiring in TV news? Or writing/editing? Or project management? (Essentially the two parts of TV producing.)