A New York City weather presenter was fired from his TV job after someone emailed his employer explicit images they had secretly recorded from a private video chat, according to court documents.
In a court filing first reported by the Daily Beast, Erick Adame said he was terminated from his job of four years as a morning meteorologist at the Spectrum News NY1 cable channel as a result of "revenge porn," a term used to describe the nonconsensual sharing of sexual images.
Adame is not suing his former employer, but rather Unit 4 Media Ltd. — the company behind LPSG (Large Penis Support Group), the website he used for video sex chat — in order to have a judge force the company to reveal information about the anonymous user that he suspects secretly screenshotted images of him naked and then sent those to NY1, as well as to Adame's mother.
The anonymous person or people used the account names Sonal Prehonn, Tommysize29, Funtimes99, and Landenboy227.
"As a direct result of [the anonymous user's] acts, [Adame's] employment was terminated by his employer," reads the petition, which was filed in the New York Supreme Court on Monday.
A Spectrum News spokesperson declined to comment for this story, but two sources at the company, who asked asked to remain anonymous in order to discuss the matter, said Adame was let go after months of discussions during which time he had remained on the air until the end of August.
Adame's attorneys point to a New York law that was framed as "revenge porn legislation" and that gives a legal cause of action to people who had naked images of them disseminated without their consent. In order for Adame to sue that person, he needs to work out who it is.
The attorneys also note that the website's own policies prohibit users from sharing content that depicts people without their written consent.
Along with other forum sites, LPSG has a notoriously toxic reputation among some sections of the gay community as being a place where men will seek out and trade nude images of others. Some of the victims are high profile, but many are not.
Lawrence Walters, an attorney representing Unit 4 Media, told BuzzFeed News in an email that capturing and disseminating user content without their consent does indeed violate their terms of service and may lead to users being suspended or banned.
"Our client’s policy is to comply with lawfully issued subpoenas," Walters said.
Through a representative, Adame declined to comment for this story, but on Monday he did go public on Instagram with his firing, revealing he had been having treatment with a psychiatrist for what he said they called "compulsive behavior."
Adame said that despite his high-profile job, he had used the website to secretly perform for other men in consensual encounters.
"As a public figure I recognize that I have certain responsibilities that come along with the privileges I enjoyed," he 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."
He pleaded with potential future employers to judge him by his prior television work and "not the couple of minutes of salacious video."
Many of the comments on Adame's post were supportive ones from other gay men who criticized Spectrum for firing the weather presenter.
A search of the Spectrum News website revealed at least 14 stories about the nonconsensual sharing of sexual images in New York, including one that covered the passage of the very law Adame highlighted in his lawsuit.
This story has been updated to include reporting from sources at Spectrum News.