I saw the following quote on someone’s Facebook page this morning: “The best part about being 40 is we did most of our stupid stuff before the Internet.”
That aphorism would seem to be a warning to Anchorage TV reporter, Charlo Green, who didn’t just burn the bridge to her budding broadcasting career, she rolled the ashes into a fatty and lit up. Green was doing a live stand-up in the KTVA studios, reporting a story about Alaska’s moribund medical marijuana industry, when she announced, first, that she owned Alaska’s only operating dispensary, AK Cannabis, and would be leaving her job to work on the legalization movement.
Then she announced: “Fuck it. I quit,” and walked off the set. The camera then cuts to the flustered anchor, obviously caught way off-guard by Green’s sudden exit.
I worked for a few years in small-market TV (in Reno and Colorado Springs) and I can testify there were many times when the urge to do something outlandish on the air was hard to resist. You always got the feeling no one was really paying attention, and the loss of your minimum wage job in some flea-ridden affiliate was not going to come back and bite you in the ass. This was, of course, before YouTube came along.
But here’s the thing that made Charlo Green a weed-smokin’, career-quittin’ folk hero in less than a week, with more than five million views of her middle-fingered departure: She did it with a calculated goal of drawing attention to marijuana legislation, her business and herself. “All of us are replaceable,” she said in an interview with Vice.com. “The people aren’t really going to miss you, or me, or any random reporter for the most part. So why not just use the position I was put in to make sure that my next chapter is just wide open for me?”
She goes on in the interview to talk about her experiences with drinking and failing her way through her first semester in college, until she rediscovered weed and wound up on the Dean’s list — and hangover free. “I graduated cum laude... And that’s because I was smoking weed!” she says, promoting a strategy that may not work for everyone. (Some students preferred their college experience to be drug-and-alcohol free, although I’ve never met them.)
Alaska legalized medical pot in 1998 but the state has been lazy about setting up the infrastructure to dispense it. With a new ballot measure in the works to legalize ganja, Green says the time was right to devote herself to the cause, and call out her fellow journalists who “never want to do the work to actually fact check themselves — I would have just stayed there to make sure it’s a fair fight. But polling has been showing that the fear-mongering is working, so I had to step away to make sure that Alaskans know what’s really at stake. ... Your job probably sucks, so go ahead and get whatever you can out of it ... if you’re just a cog in this massive machine, and you know you’re replaceable, and you’re treated that way. Then replace them. Be brave. Be ballsy. And make sure you’re going to be okay afterwards.”
It seems like KTVA station management misinterpreted Green’s message. They quickly announced she was “terminated,” oblivious to the fact that it was Green who fired them! Put that in your chalice and smoke it.
For more Viral Video nuggets, go here.