A gay meteorologist in New York City who alleges he was fired after someone sent nude webcam photos of him to his employer and to his mother is pleading for his job back and accusing the sender of revenge porn.
Erick Adame, an Emmy-nominated meteorologist who has worked at Spectrum News NY1 since 2007, admitted Monday on Instagram that he had secretly appeared and performed on an adult video website for other men while he was employed at the TV station. He said the actions were “100% consensual” on the part of everyone involved, apart from the incident in which someone took screenshots of him without his knowledge. He said he wasn’t paid for his appearances, and he apologized for taking part.
But after his bosses received the screenshots, Adame was suspended and then fired last week, according to a petition for a subpoena of the webcam company his lawyer filed Monday in New York County Supreme Court.
In his first interview since he left Spectrum News, Adame told MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle on Tuesday night that although some people might have felt offended when they learned about his involvement with the adult webcam site, he didn’t think what he had done was wrong.
“I unequivocally do not apologize for being sex-positive and for being myself — for being an openly gay man,” he said.
Adame, 39, said he never spoke at work about his involvement with the website, which is owned by Unit 4 Media Ltd. He also pointed to New York City Health Department guidance during the height of the coronavirus pandemic that encouraged New Yorkers in March 2020 to “enjoy sex virtually” through activities like video dates, sexting and participating in chat rooms.
A Spectrum News source said company management worked with Adame for months after the webcam incident and before his departure. The source, who didn’t confirm whether Adame was fired, said Adame’s departure had nothing to do with his sexual orientation and maintained that the company fosters an inclusive environment. The source said the situation is more complicated than it appears but wouldn’t provide further details, citing privacy concerns.
According to the petition filed by Adame and his lawyer, an anonymous user of the video website took nude screenshots of Adame and sent them to his employer and to his mother in December, “with the intent of harassing, annoying, or alarming” him.
The petition says the user didn’t have Adame’s permission to share the “intimate” images. After he learned that the photos were taken, Adame asked Unit 4 Media for more information about the user who shared them. However, even after the company indicated that it could help identify the user, it refused to share the information without a subpoena, the document says.
Lawrence Walters, a lawyer for the webcam company, said in a statement that the company’s policy is to comply with lawfully issued subpoenas and provide relevant user data when legally required.
Walters wrote in an email, “Capturing and disseminating user content without consent violates our client’s Terms of Service and forum Rules which may result in a suspension or banning of the offending accounts.”
The petition for a subpoena also asks the court to compel the company to share with Adame any documents or communications that could help identify the user. Adame accused the user of violating state revenge porn laws, although that is unclear, and it depends on the outcome of the petition whether he could or would sue the user.
“I’m a victim, whether that’s going to be classified as revenge porn or not,” Adame said.
New York City Council member Erik Bottcher, who represents the Manhattan district where Spectrum NY1 is located, appears to agree.
“I stand in support of Erick Adame, who is the victim of someone who tried to destroy his life by sending nude photos of him to his employer and his mother,” he tweeted. Bottcher included a link to the New York City health department’s safe sex and Covid-19 guidelines, which recommended that New Yorkers “enjoy sex virtually” to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
In his conversation with Ruhle, Adame acknowledged that, as a television personality — someone for whom the “rules can be different” — he may have had a “lapse in judgment.” But he also said he felt as though his employers had old-fashioned expectations of him.
He wants his job back, he said.
“I didn’t commit a crime here,” he said. “What happened here is the other way around.”