My statement to Charlottesville City Council on Monday, March 16th, 2015
Here is the audio version;
Link to the video, my appearance is at ~25 minutes into the meeting;
This is the transcript;
Mayor: Kirk, Kirk Clyatt?
Clyatt: Clyatt, that’s right thank you Mister Mayor and Council, my name is Kirk Clyatt, 208 Meade Avenue and I’m going to talk about what happened after I was here last time.
In 1968 I remember as a small boy, nine years old, the impact of Walter Cronkite’s words in changing America after his trip to Vietnam.
Well unfortunately that can’t happen anymore; I have learned the hard way after having the audacity to speak before this council as TV weatherman about the Civil War and Lee-Jackson Day, that act of civic responsibility, has cost me my job and I have never been prouder to be fired.
I was told by NBC29 management that by coming here tonight, that I would make a fool out of myself and I never work again and by innuendo it was inferred that they would make it hard for me to get unemployment compensation.
Well I say to this council there are things that more important than TV weather.
I’ve prepared a packet; here is one if you’d like to take a look at it. I’ll be emailing them to you individually and I’ve got an extra here if you’d like.
In case you don’t remember I was here on February 2nd, I’ve also included in the packet a little background on why this is an important issue to me.
I came to Charlottesville because I viewed this as a progressive community and NBC29 seemed to fit into this community.
The company handbook even stated;
“It is policy to allow and support ALL employees to participate in civic, political, charitable or other community activities of the employee’s choosing.”
Then on February 3rd, even though there were no complaints about my actions, I get an email that states in part;
No testifying before a public body on personal opinions.
Now I certainly understand not taking a public position on stories that you are actively covering, but I wasn’t covering this as a story … I was a weatherman.
Then on February 6th I received a letter that directly contradicted what was said in the employee handbook.
This is amazing to me because the station knew when they hired me that my side job is a USA news commentator with politically tinged commentaries for radio stations in Australia, including some of the major cities, for the past 13 years.
To obey this letter, as a gay man … and I have to wonder as a side bar if that is part of this, as I had planned to soon publicly come out … well I guess my coming out is to this council and to this meeting tonight.
I didn’t expect applause, but I appreciate that.
You know I would not be allowed to take a position whether it was OK for me to be discriminated against.
Would I be allowed to write a Facebook commentary on the tragic suicide of Leelah Alcorn the 17-year-old transgender girl you may remember last December in Ohio that brought me more than a few tears?
There is also the issue of religion;
I was told if I had said the exact same things that I said to you in a place of worship that would be fine, but to me coming here had such an impact that it rises to the level of freedom of religious expression, so much so that I have registered the website after this happened ChruchOfTheCitizen.org.
I consider the actions by NBC as unethical and possibly illegal.
I’ll be in touch with you independently about how maybe this council can help me?
And it just goes to show unfortunately in too many ways the Civil War is not yet over, especially here in Virginia.
Mayor: Thank You.
Clyatt: And I thank you for listening to me.
It would seem hard to imagine, but the story is getting even stranger … more to come ASAP.
Thank you for reading … your comments are welcome.