Erick Adame, an out gay Emmy-nominated meteorologist who worked for Spectrum News NY1, said he was fired from his job after someone sent nude screenshot photos of him to his employer and his mother without his permission.
News of the termination, first reported by the Daily Beast, led to backlash on social media, where elected officials, celebrities, LGBTQ individuals, and others offered Adame support and blasted the decision to fire him.
Adame published a lengthy and remorseful Instagram post on September 19 explaining that he “secretly appeared on an adult webcam site” and performed on camera for other men. A different user, he said, took screenshots of him on video and sent those to his mother and his employer.
“I wasn’t paid for this, and it was absurd of me to think I could keep this private,” Adame wrote on Instagram. “Nonetheless, my employer found out and I was suspended and then terminated.”
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Earlier in the day, Adame took legal action in New York State Supreme Court in a bid to determine who circulated the images without his permission. The court documents indicate that the leaked photos stemmed from December of last year and were disseminated by an anonymous person who went by multiple usernames, including Sonal Prehonn, Tommysize29, Fintimes99, and Landenboy227. It is not clear which platform hosted the video chat, but court documents cite “Unit 4 Media LTD.”
Adame, represented by Jeremy Klausner Law, PC, further pointed in court documents to a section of New York Civil Rights Law that stipulates that “any person depicted in a still or video image… shall have a cause of action against an individual who” disseminates or publishes the still video or video image of an unclothed person for the purpose of harassing, annoying, or alarming individuals.
Adame’s spokesperson, Howard Bragman, told Gay City News that the basis for the firing was “contractual” and said he would still work for NY1 if asked to return.
“He would like nothing more than to have his job back,” Bragman said. “It was his dream job. He’s not said one bad word about Spectrum. He loved them as a workplace and an employer, and he would love to be back.”
A spokesperson for Spectrum News declined to comment for this story.
While Adame used his Instagram post to both apologize and voice his desire to remain in the industry, he also stressed that he would not be sorry for living his life as an out gay man.
“As a public figure I recognize that I have certain responsibilities that come along with the privileges I’ve enjoyed,” Adame wrote “But, let me be clear about something: I don’t apologize for being openly gay or for being sex-positive — those are gifts and I have no shame about them.”
Out queer Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou of Manhattan responded to Adame’s termination shortly after the news broke.
“How is this a fireable offense?” she asked on Twitter. “How is this not discrimination? How is @NY1 setting this precedent? How is nobody actually defending Erick against these leaks of his personal life where he didn’t do anything to apologize for? How is it news? Why is this public shaming ok?”
Niou’s colleague, Assemblymember Catalina Cruz of Queens, also took to Twitter to question why Adame is out of a job.
“So… @NY1 fires a gay Latino for consensual sex acts (read @ErickAdameOnTV ’s statement … he had nothing to apologize for), but @CNN lets @JeffreyToobin — a white straight man — keep his job after exposing himself to his colleagues against their will, wonder what’s different?”
Brooklyn State Senator Julia Salazar chimed in on Twitter, too, writing, “Bring Erick back. Who cares about the sex lives of consenting adults? What does this have to do with his ability to give us the weather forecast? Shameful to let a talented, Emmy-nominated meteorologist go over this nonsense.”
Out gay former City Councilmember Daniel Dromm of Queens offered a shorter and more abrupt response on Twitter.
“@NY1 should rehire @ErickAdameOnTV asap. This is bull****!”
Adame’s Instagram post received more than 4,500 “likes” and brought words of encouragement from folks like “Pose” star Ryan Jamaal Swain, who wrote, “You will get through this.”
“Erick has been overwhelmed and deeply moved by the depth of support for him,” Bragman said. “He hopes that people will take this message to heart.”