Former KARE-TV weatherman Sven Sundgaard has landed a new job at Minnesota Public Radio News in St. Paul.
Monday afternoon, “Morning Edition” host Cathy Wurzer tweeted congratulations to Sundgaard and said he would join her on air starting Tuesday: “I’ve been a lifelong Sven fan. Join us every morning at 7:50 a.m. Sundgaard will also write for MPR News’ Updraft weather blog. His first post went live on Monday.
KARE fired Sundgaard, who is gay, in May 2020. A Facebook post from the station at the time read, “Due to continued violations of news ethics and other KARE 11 policies, we have made the decision to part ways with Sven Sundgaard.
Last April, Sundgaard filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against KARE and its parent company Tegna for discrimination based on his sexual orientation and religious beliefs. The lawsuit includes additional allegations of hostile work environment, defamation and violation of Minnesota human rights law.
At the time, KARE responded with a statement, “One of our core values as a station is inclusion. We are committed to maintaining a respectful workplace free from all forms of discrimination and harassment.
When Sundgaard appeared on the cover of local LGBTQ magazine Lavender in 2007, he said then-news director Tom Lindner was furious and asked Sundgaard, “What are people are going to think?” Sundgaard said human resources did not follow up on her complaint. After he converted to Judaism, Sundgaard said, news director Jane Helmke asked him if he “still believed that Jesus was the Messiah.” Sundgaard called the comment “invasive” and said it made him feel uncomfortable and didn’t know how to react.
The lawsuit also details an incident in early 2011 when Lindner allegedly sent Sundgaard “a hostile email regarding a promotional photo shoot Sundgaard had done, copying numerous colleagues.” An open-door meeting with Lindner ended with the news director shouting ‘Get the (expletive) out of my office,’ according to Sundgaard, who said once again a report to human resources was unsuccessful. to nothing.
Sundgaard claims that in 2017 management allegedly did not approve leave for him to appear as a speaker at a National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association conference or to spend time with his mother, who was undergoing treatment for terminal cancer on her birthday. Sundgaard claims he told the news director he was going to raise the issue with Tegna and was told it was a station decision, not a company decision. Shortly after, Sundgaard said Tegna gave him a warning for insubordinate and unacceptable behavior.
In November 2017, Sundgaard said management had issued a written warning about his “poor judgement” for a “sexually charged” comment he made during a newscast when he said “I guess the size really matters” in response to a news story about Minnesota or Wisconsin having more lakes.
According to the lawsuit, Sundgaard reported “similar incidents of differential treatment toward her based, in part, on her sexual orientation and prior reports of discrimination or harassment. No matter how many times he reported, the hostility and differential treatment continued.
Sundgaard is suing for back wages from the day he was fired and up to $25,000 in punitive damages. The lawsuit remains pending, according to Federal Court records.
Shortly before his firing, Sundgaard used Facebook to repost a comment by Minneapolis Rabbi Michael Adam Latz that criticized those protesting coronavirus-spurred public health restrictions in the United States and compared them to “white nationalist miscreants.” gun fetish Nazi sympathizers”.
Right-wing website Alpha News reported on the Sundgaard replay, which drew criticism from former congressman and media personality Jason Lewis, who tweeted “Today’s forecast: mostly sunny with a chance for idiocy… The #Covid_19 models are about as accurate as its predictions. @kare11 should fire him!”
News of Sundgaard’s departure made national headlines, including coverage of Fox News and the New York Daily News. Locally, social media discussions were largely supportive of Sundgaard, who was born in St. Paul, grew up in Cottage Grove and had worked at KARE since 2006.
In August 2020, Sundgaard began producing forecasts for local news site bringmethenews.com. The site owner has confirmed that Sundgaard will continue to contribute to Bring Me The News. Sundgaard also posts regularly on YouTube.