Viewers Launch Petition to Reinstate Meteorologist Kelly Bates After Teary Video

Viewers of Rhode Island TV station WJAR-10 have launched a petition to reinstate long-time meteorologist Kelly Bates, after she announced her departure.

Bates, who had been with the Providence-based NBC affiliate for 17 years, took to Twitter to announce she was "no longer employed" by WJAR, before sharing a teary TikTok video, in which she further discussed her exit.

Bates tweeted on Tuesday: "So friends. This is it. I wanted to let you know that I am no longer employed by NBC10 Thank you for everything over the nearly 20 years of having the privilege of being a trusted person in the community. It has been one hell of a ride!"

When a fan enquired whether Bates would be heading to another channel, she responded: "As a 49 year old round woman, it's safe to say my television career is done."

Bates' statement prompted another follower to ask if executives at WJAR had said those actual words to Bates, prompting the TV personality to clarify: "Not at all."

She went on: "I was answering the question above of me getting a job at another station, and knowing what I do about this business, there is no station who would hire me. It's fact. Sad and wrong, but fact. I have hope for the next generation of ladies in weather."

Bates also took to her TikTok account to post a video in which she was seen struggling to hold back her tears as she shared the news further.

@kellybatesri

I am no longer employed by WJAR. Thank you so much for tuning. Sorry I can’t do this thank you video without crying. I have tried. No go. #gratis

♬ original sound - Kelly Bates

The video can also be seen here.

Captioning the video, which had been viewed more than 880,000 times as of Thursday, Bates wrote: "I am no longer employed by WJAR. Thank you so much for tuning. Sorry I can't do think thank you video without crying. I have tried. No go. #gratis."

The Emmy nominee said in the clip: "So today... Today was an interesting day. I honestly didn't think this day would go this way. But here I am.

"I wanted to say thank you. Thank you for trusting me over so long. Thank you for all the nice things you're saying. It does help. I can't wait to see what's coming next, but right now I need a minute to breathe. Sorry, it's just a lot."

After taking a pause to gather herself, Bates added: "I can't wait to see where we're going to end up next. It's going to be awesome."

Bates' bio page on WJAR-10's website, which has since been deleted, stated that she "joined Storm Team 10 in August 2004, forecasting weather for NBC 10 News," while also noting that she was an Emmy nominee in 2004 and 2005.

So friends. This is it. I wanted to let you know that I am no longer employed by NBC10 Thank you for everything over the nearly 20 years of having the privilege of being a trusted person in the community. It has been one hell of a ride!

— Kelly Bates (@KellyBatesRI) September 7, 2021

Since the news broke, a petition entitled "Bring Back Kelly Bates" has been launched, demanding Bates' reinstatement at WJAR.

A statement on the petition, which garnered 5,965 signatures at press time, reads: "Tell WJAR - NBC 10 that unless they return Kelly Bates to her normal Meteorological time slots and renew her FULL TIME contract, we will no longer be WJAR - NBC 10 viewers.

"Kelly Bates has been doing the weather since 1996 and was just voted 'Best Female Meteorologist' by RI Monthly Magazine, and yet the younger, significantly less [experienced] Kelly Love was hired to replace retiring meteorologist Gary Ley, and Kelly Bates was given only part time, weekend duties.

"Kelly Bryant - Love has only been doing weather since Fall 2009, as indicated on her LinkedIn account. Tell WJAR - NBC 10 you won't be force fed a replacement just because she's a younger version!"

As a 49 year old round woman, it's safe to say my television career is done.

— Kelly Bates (@KellyBatesRI) September 7, 2021

Not at all. I was answering the question above of me getting a job at another station, and knowing what I do about this business, there is no station who would hire me. It's fact. Sad and wrong, but fact.I have hope for the next generation of ladies in weather.

— Kelly Bates (@KellyBatesRI) September 7, 2021

However, WJAR general manager Vic Vetters has told Go Local that Bates is no longer in the station's employment because she turned down a new contract.

"The WJAR team is saddened that meteorologist Kelly Bates is leaving the station after nearly 17 great years together," Vetters said in a statement. "Kelly ultimately decided it was time to move on and elected not to renew her contract with us.

"We thank Kelly for her dedication to WJAR and her commitment to keeping our viewers informed with critical weather updates throughout the years. We wish her nothing but the best in her future endeavors."

Go Local noted that WJAR had not clarified whether the contract was equal in terms of her previous agreement.

Newsweek has contacted a representative for WJAR-10 for comment.

Meteorologist Kelly Bates
Meteorologist Kelly Bates has revealed in a teary TikTok video that she is "no longer employed" by Rhode Island NBC affiliate WJAR-10—prompting viewers to set up a petition demanding her reinstatement. Kelly Bates/TikTok;/Kelly Bates/Twitter