Fired News Anchor A.J. Clemente Talks Cursing Aftermath: "I Balled Up in Bed and Called My Parents"

He says he "didn't even know the cameras were on" when he kicked off his first and last day on the job with a profane remark—and, no, he hasn't watched the whole viral clip

By Natalie Finn, Baker Machado Apr 24, 2013 10:22 PMTags
Watch: Cussing News Anchor Explains Flub

Everyone has a rough day at work from time to time. Not everyone's gaffe ends up online for all the world to see, however.

"I went home, balled up in my bed and I called my parents," A.J. Clemente tells E! News, describing what happened after he kicked off his first (and ultimately last) broadcast as a news anchor for KFYR-TV in Bismarck, N.D., with a profane remark.

Which, he has assured everybody, was not meant to be heard by anyone, let alone the millions of people who watched his goof after it went viral.

"I was pretty heartbroken and pretty devastated, because this was my first time anchoring," Clemente tells us. "I was there for three weeks reporting, and it was a perfect storm for what happened." 

So, what did happen, exactly?

"We were producing the show, me and Van (Tieu) my co-anchor," he recalls. "We were a bit rushed, we had like three minutes before we were to go to air...That doesn't excuse the fact that I said what I said, and I'm deeply sorry for it, especially to the people of Bismarck."

Peter Kramer/NBC

"I am looking down at my scripts trying to pronounce the name of someone from the [London] marathon," Clemente says. "This was my first time anchoring, I just wanted to make sure that I was ready to go. Van starts practicing, at least I thought she was practicing, and she tosses to me and I didn't even realize I cursed on the actual air. I didn't even know the cameras were on!"

He and Tieu tried to power through, but the damage was done. Clemente says he has tried to watch the clip now seen by more than 2 million people, but he hasn't been able to make it through the whole thing.

"The first time was like, 'Wow.' The second time I chuckled. If it wasn't me, I would die laughing. It's something you watch over and over with your friends and keep laughing," he says. "I feel so bad for what I did, but I am taking what happened and running with it because everybody deserves a second chance."

Clemente's good-natured, "blessing in disguise" attitude could also have something to do with the fact that his accidental overnight-celebrity status has led to way more national exposure than he could have dreamed of a mere two days ago.

In addition to being the newest big thing on Twitter, he has appeared on Today, taped an appearance for tonight's Late Show With David Letterman and will be covering the red carpet at the premiere of Pierce Brosnan's new movie, Love Is All You Need, for Live! With Kelly and Michael.

Then there are the fringe benefits: "Omg Kate Hudson..... Knees just melted," he tweeted after seeing his fellow guest on the Late Show set.

Nice work if you can get it.

For more with A.J. Clemente, tune into E! News tonight at 7 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.