You can't fault the WITI-Milwaukee Fox6 WakeUp crew for wanting to inject a little fun into their morning broadcast regimen. The morning is, traditionally, not a very fun time of day. Plus, it's their job to get all the Lavernes and Shirleys in town excited for a tedious day down at the bottlecapping plant.
However, you can fault them for filming one of their wacky dance "bits" out in the field.
At the scene of a deadly fire.
That claimed the lives of three children.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that reporter Angelica Duria did just that a couple days ago, while on site to deliver a somber news report about a devastating blaze. You can see her in the clip above, busting a move in fuchsia rain boots about a half block up from a home cordoned off by fluorescent yellow crime scene tape.
The tape is delineating the area where, one night earlier, three siblings—twin four-year-old boys and a five year old girl—perished in a fire. Not a wacky fire. A regular one.
According to the Sentinel, eyewitnesses working for other news organizations saw Duria filming her dance on the morning it happened and "wondered about its appropriateness." Local outrage grew after the video was posted online and viewers recognized the backdrop.
Eventually, the president and general manager of WITI was forced to issue a statement in response to the controversy:
"We have been working to make parts of FOX 6 Wake Up more fun and spontaneous — especially near the end of the show as we transition into ‘Real Milwaukee.' We have tried to involve all of the crew and staff.
While I personally received multiple positive comments from viewers about the segment—one person specifically thanking us for getting their day off to a fun start before going to work—we never intended to offend anyone. If we did, we certainly apologize."
Oddly, Steinmetz's statement—particularly the line about someone thanking the station for making life fun—suggests that he has mistaken Milwaukee, Wisconsin for Bomont, the tiny town from Footloose. He's not sorry because Duria's dance party took place in a grossly inappropriate setting. He's sorry you hate dancing.
The Sentinel notes that a clip of Duria reporting on a snow storm previously went viral when she said, on air, "It's snowing and it sucks." The anchors in the studio gave her a standing ovation for that one. Like she had just performed a moving aria.
Incidentally, the Dougie (which is three years old and none of the people in that video are even doing it) debacle is not the first time FOX6 WakeUp has experimented with the art of dance. On April 5, the station broadcast a part-live/part-pre-taped staff performance of the Harlem Shake. Duria's in that one too, though she doesn't appear to be at the scene of a tragedy, which marks a shift in tone from her later work.
"We're gonna go clubbing with Angelica on the weekends," laughs one dancing newsman in the Dougie video. Maybe this weekend the whole gang will take a roadtrip to Boston.