The Weather Channel just learned the hard way that you don’t mess with Texas. Specifically, don’t mess with former Fort Worth City Councilmember Joel Burns.
Burns, you will recall, shot to fame a few years ago after a moving “It Gets Better” speech. Since then, he’s kept a steady hand on local politics, working to keep Fort Worth strong and proud and pleasant, up until his resignation a this month to attend a political program at Harvard.
Today’s kerfuffle started small. For the last few weeks, the Weather Channel app was displaying a picture of Dallas instead of Fort Worth, and that rubbed Burns the wrong way. He tweeted at them a few times that they were using the wrong image. They ignored him until he finally tweeted in exasperation, “I SWEAR I’m deleting your aggravating app if you don’t STOP SHOWING DALLAS pics for Fort Worth.”
The Weather Channel’s baffling response: “Sorry to see you go. Good luck on ending bullying.”
Now that seems awfully sarcastic and bitchy, but it’s so hard to tell on the internet. Maybe they really meant it sincerely? Who can say.
Two hours later, the channel was in damage control mode, tweeting, “we apologize for our reply this morning. Our response was inappropriate & we’re taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
For his part, Joel isn’t too bent out of shape about the tweet.
“I don’t need, nor do I want them to call me directly,” he told Queerty. “What I would like to have happen out of this…I’d like them to be more accurate in their app in their portrayal of Fort Worth.”
That’s certainly a reasonable request. It’s nice that he hasn’t lost sight of what this little dispute was all about in the first place: their incorrect images, and then refusal to respond when he pointed out that they were wrong.
“My other suggestion is that they… be able to show that they’re supportive of anti-bullying efforts,” he went on. That’s also pretty reasonable. How about it, Weather Channel?
Joel’s third request is that the Weather Channel visit Fort Worth to broadcast a weathercast from a park downtown.
“I want to be friends, I want to be supportive of them,” Burns told Queerty. “I’d be happy to be a grip or a gaffer…I’ll hold a green screen if they need someone to.”