KARE 11 has parted ways with longtime meteorologist Sven Sundgaard. The local NBC affiliate posted the decision Friday on its Facebook page.
“Due to continued violations of KARE 11’s news ethics and other policies, we have made the decision to part ways with Sven Sundgaard,” the posting read. “We hope you continue to turn to KARE 11 for your news, traffic, weather and more.”
Within two hours, the posting had spurred more than 3,300 comments from viewers, many of whom commended the station’s decision, while others vowed to never watch KARE 11 again.
John Remes, KARE president and general manager, said he would not be commenting beyond his station’s public statement. Sundgaard’s bio and picture have been removed from KARE’s website.
The exact reason for the departure is unclear, but the news personality triggered commentary on social media this past month when he reposted a comment from Minneapolis Rabbi Michael Adam Latz comparing those protesting the recent economic shutdowns to “white nationalist Nazi sympathizer gun fetishist miscreants.”
Former U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis was among those who criticized Sundgaard for the reposting.
“Today’s forecast: mostly sunny w/ a chance of idiocy,” the high-profile Republican and former media personality tweeted on April 30. “#Covid_19 models are about as accurate as his forecasts. @kare11 should fire him!”
Others jumped to the meteorologist’s defense after KARE announced its decision.
“You will lose way more viewers with him leaving than you would have with people protesting his words,” one follower said. “I was a faithful viewer, but now I’m out.”
Sundgaard, who was born and raised in the Twin Cities, joined the station in 2006 after a stint in Duluth. His popularity extended beyond just the weather forecast as he hosted numerous fundraisers and graced several covers of Lavender, the local magazine that covers the LGBT community.
He’s never been shy about expressing his thoughts.
In a 2015 Star Tribune interview, he was asked for his reaction to those who waved the Confederate flag upon greeting President Barack Obama.
“Hate and racism,” he said. “I had a great-great-grandfather who fought in the Civil War in the 38th Iowa Infantry. Injured because those, what’s the word we should use, morons and racists in the South wanted to preserve their way of life. They lost. Actually what I’ve likened it to, and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration, let’s pretend that Germany were a state in the U.S. and they still wanted to fly the Nazi flag. Get real.”
When reached by phone Friday, Sundgaard declined to comment on his departure from KARE.