Meteorologist Jamie Simpson was trying to update residents of Dayton, Ohio, about a tornado threat that had descended on the region Monday night, but for a handful of social media commenters, there was a more urgent situation at hand.
“EXCUSE ME,” declared one commenter on FOX 45 Dayton’s Facebook live stream. “the bachelorette is on."
The long-running ABC reality-show-meets-soap-opera, in which square-jawed men with names like Chasen and Brian compete for the love of a woman who has just met them, was indeed slated to run that evening.
Sinclair Broadcast Group manages Fox 45 as well as the local ABC affiliate, and regular programming was interrupted on both channels for coverage of the storm bearing down on Ohio.
Simpson and his colleagues provided live updates throughout the night as the storm — which would eventually birth several destructive tornadoes and claim at least one life — moved through the area. Most viewers were grateful for the consistent updates, but a handful either trolled or complained.
“No reason to take over regular programming,” one other user complained in the Facebook Live comments as tornado warnings were issued. “You can pop on and off with updates,” she said, before adding, “smh,” which stands for “shake my head.”
At one point in the broadcast, Simpson took a break from explaining the current tornado warnings to rebuke his critics.
“We have viewers complaining already, ‘Just go back to the show.’ No. We’re not going back to the show, folks,” Simpson said.
“This is a dangerous situation, okay? Think about if it was your neighborhood,” he continued. “I’m sick and tired of people complaining about this. Our job here is to keep people safe, and that IS what we’re going to do. Some of you complain that this is all about my ego … stop. Okay, just stop right now. It’s not.”
He then issued a final thought: “I’m done with you people. I really am. This is pathetic.”
Simpson apologized immediately after the outburst, saying: “I’m sorry I did that. It just really bothers me that we have people who don’t care about other people’s safety around here.”
Simpson, a veteran meteorologist, worked for the U.S. Golf Association and the Weather Channel before making his way to Dayton, according to his biography on the Fox 45 website.
The clip of his outburst soon went viral, and the Bachelorette herself, Hannah Brown, came to Simpson’s defense on Twitter, warning followers that “naders are no joke."
Social media users in Ohio and around the country voiced their support.
“YOU TELL 'EM, JAMIE” wrote one Facebook Live commenter.