Author’s note: I hate to retract a clarion call for sexual permissiveness, but since this article was published, I’ve become aware of further details about Erick Adame’s situation that more or less invalidate my position on his firing by Spectrum News NY1. While it’s certainly true that Adame’s career was unnecessarily derailed by a third party, he was also openly advertising his identity as a NY1 weatherman and his desire to have sex with his boss during his appearances on an adult cam site—for not one person, as I had written, but an audience of hundreds of viewers.
To Spectrum, the multibillion-dollar corporation that made, in my view, an ethically defensible choice to fire Adame, I offer my sincere apologies. To our readers: I regret not basing my initial comment on more robust research into this matter.
This week has already seen the fallout of two sex scandals—one that was definitively local to the New York City area and one with full-blown national appeal.
On Monday, a model named Sumner Stroh released a TikTok in which she posted the Instagram direct messages sent to her by the singer/Maroon 5 frontman/The Voice host Adam Levine, with whom she claimed to have had an affair. And late last week, Spectrum fired a NY1 meteorologist after some anonymous asshole sent the news network (and his mother!) screengrabs taken from footage of him appearing on an adult cam site.
The reactions to both of these events from certain media outlets, as well as from these two men, these supposed sexual transgressors, have been roundly depressing.
Let’s start with Levine. The content of the DMs between him and Stroh is more or less unremarkable (yet evidently successful) attempts to express interest in a potential sexual coupling—extramarital, for Levine. These DMs are explicit, but not abusive. In a subsequent video, Stroh attested to feeling “manipulated” into having an affair with a married man; at the time, she had been in the “vulnerable position of being new to L.A.,” you see. And apparently lost all agency.
It would appear that Stroh’s decision to reveal all of this was precipitated by Levine’s reemergence in her DMs after some time to ask her how she would feel about him and his partner in marriage, Behati Prinsloo, naming their new baby Sumner. (She also has some story about a friend attempting to sell screenshots of their messages to the tabloids.)
Several other women have also told certain publications about their brushes with Levine on Instagram, including a person going by Maryka, who revealed messages in which Levine states: “Watching your ass jiggle…will permanently scar me for life” and that he’d “buy it a steak dinner and whisper sweet nothings to it.” Both messages were “hearted.” In one exchange the model sends him a (presumably revealing) photo, to which he responds “Fu–.” That response is hearted, too.
It’s easy to understand where these people are coming from. Hell, if I were banging Adam Levine and then for some awful reason were no longer banging Adam Levine, and then he resurfaced to ask if he could name his child after me, I’d be livid. Would I then blast our personal conversations across the internet so that everyone, including his wife, could gaze upon his messages, attesting to how hot I am? No. I would not do that. That would be cruel. And insane. Yet it seems that the experience of getting to bang Adam Levine—but for only a brief period—leaves people susceptible to debasing themselves.
Since this, certain members of the press have breathlessly and predictably reported that Levine has been “accused.” Accused of… sending DMs to pretty women he wanted to sleep with. People who freely engaged with him and encouraged his attentions and then revealed them to the world. In response to all this ado about the gorgeous women Levine’s been sexting, the famously hot man released a statement reading: “Uh. I’m a rock star? Are you people new to…reality?”
Just kidding! He said he would not be commenting on these various betrayals of his privacy and attempts to humiliate him for consensual adult behavior.
LOL, kidding again! In fact, Levine posted an Instagram story in which he denied having an affair but admitted to using “poor judgment” and did his best to express contrition for endangering his relationship with his wife and family. Not groveling, but hardly going on an offense. Of course, I don’t know what I would post if I were trying to save my marriage. It sounds like this couple needs to have a talk about the fact that at least one of them wants to sleep with other people (plenty of marriages exist where such a fact is acknowledged). Maybe it’ll all work out.
The same can’t likely be said for the television career of Erick Adame following Spectrum’s dismissal of him as an on-air meteorologist for the no-no of camming privately with some other gay guy. Note to anyone from Spectrum reading this: The correct response, when presented with evidence of an employee’s legal, unharmful behavior conducted outside of the workplace, is, obviously, to do nothing. It’s not to further the mortification of your employee. It is to recognize that—though there may be some people who do not like the idea of the weatherman jerking off on webcam—those people do not have the power to meaningfully affect Spectrum’s bottom line, and in standing up for your employee, you are standing up for the rights of all of us not to be blackmailed by dirtbags.
Did Adame take the opportunity to say, “My actions harmed no one, and I am disappointed that my employer would let an internet sociopath destroy my professional life”? He did not. Rather, he turned practically Catholic, confessing: “My psychiatrist calls my actions, ‘compulsive behavior,’ others would call them reckless, stupid or brazen.” With that, Adame threw under the bus every other poor soul who’s ever partaken in the particular pleasure of jerking off on a webcam with a stranger (ahem). He adds, “I can’t take it back, and I can’t change what I did, but I am getting the professional help I need so I can make appropriate decisions” etc. etc. etc.
Oddly, Adame then goes on to swear, “I don’t apologize for being openly gay or for being sex-positive—those are gifts and I have no shame about them.” But the self-flagellation of the entire missive clearly suggests otherwise. He adds, “I had the job of my dreams and I lost it due to my own lapse in judgment.” To kinder eyes, of course, he lost his job to the malevolent actions of an internet stranger and the cravenness of a multibillion-dollar corporation that could have easily dismissed the whole thing. And sadly, Adame has also arguably screwed himself when it comes to his suit against the parent company of the webcam site by admitting he thinks he’s at fault.
In a final affront to himself, Adame adds, “One thing I can promise is that I have learned a lesson and I will be an exemplary employee and the most informed and enthusiastic meteorologist you have ever seen.” If Adame is truly sexually compulsive, then his attested ability to resist the lure of (again, consensual, utterly victimless) adult webcamming is hardly something anyone should take at face value. Now if he engages sexually online again (which he will, of course, he will) and that’s discovered, he’s not just a sexually active adult homosexual with an internet connection; he’s a liar.
It does not have to be this way. A message for Mr. Levine, Mr. Adame, and all those yet to be shamed for their mutually consensual sexual antics: Despite the pearl-clutching, mean-spirited coverage surrounding these non-scandals, there are those of us who are able to recognize whose actions are truly anti-social. There are those of us who think public humiliation for consensual sexual behavior is, plainly, evil. There are even some of us who have the nerve to say so publicly.
Try playing to our crowd next time.