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She cut into the Masters for tornado updates — and got death threats, meteorologist says

A meteorologist said she received death threats after breaking into the final round of the Masters for a split-screen report about tornadoes.
A meteorologist said she received death threats after breaking into the final round of the Masters for a split-screen report about tornadoes. Twitter Screen Grab

A meteorologist said she received death threats after breaking into coverage of the Masters tournament Sunday with information about a potential tornado.

During Tiger Woods’ comeback win, viewers watching golf in the Atlanta area were interrupted by a storm update from WGCL meteorologist Ella Dorsey, according to Bleacher Report.

Dorsey cut into the coverage using a split screen so viewers could still see the golf being played at Augusta National, but the play-by-play was muted for the weather update, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The interruption was too much for some viewers.

And some of the responses she received were over the line, Dorsey said of the death threats.

“To everyone sending me death threats right now: you wouldn’t be saying a damn thing if a tornado was ravaging your home this afternoon. Lives are more important than 5 minutes of golf,” Dorsey tweeted, adding she would do it again. “I will continue to repeat that if and when we cut into programming to keep people safe.”

A scroll across the bottom of the screen would have been enough information, according to one person who shared a picture of the break-in on Twitter, saying the network was “literally making one of the greatest finishes of the Masters ever be absolutely miserable.”

Another person tweeted that “a tornado could be outside my house and I don’t care. Put the masters back on.”

Dorsey’s boss said he was surprised by the nastiness of the negative responses.

“The venom around this was insane, even by social media standards,” WGCL station manager Steve Doerr said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Tiger Woods put on a green jacket once again after a historic comeback win in the 2019 Masters.

For all of the criticism, many of the people responding to Dorsey’s tweet were supportive and thanked the channel for the information.

On Monday, the National Weather Service confirmed that two tornadoes “touched down” in Georgia during Sunday’s storms, WSB reported. The TV station said the tornadoes affected “Pike, Lamar and Spalding counties,” which are about 50 miles away from Atlanta.

Dorsey was not the only meteorologist criticized for providing information about the dangerous weather during the Masters.

WUSA, the CBS affiliate in Washington, D.C., broke into its coverage for storm updates, but that interruption came during a replay of the golf tournament, according to Awful Announcing. That decision did not sit well with some viewers, including former Washington Post sports columnist and ESPN personality Michael Wilbon.

“You people couldn’t wait until Tiger putted out (on replay granted) before you took HIM off the screen for your self-indulgent endless weather interruption? Really?!?!? A pox on your producers, probably some of my dear friends!” Wilbon tweeted.

Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.


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