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CBS Meteorologist Resigning After Coverage Led to Death Threat

Chris Gloninger received unsettling messages following his discussions of climate change.

These days, it's more important than ever to pay close attention to your local forecast. Whether you have plans for a big summer barbecue or an upcoming flight, you want to be on top of the weather. And amid ongoing climate volatility, there's a good chance you've put your faith in the meteorologist at your local station, whom you trust for (usually) reliable forecasts. But Chris Gloninger, chief meteorologist for CBS-affiliate KCCI in Des Moines, Iowa, won't be delivering the local weekly weather reports anymore. In a June 21 Twitter post, the meteorologist confirmed that he's "bidding farewell," due in part to a death threat he received last summer. Read on to learn more about Gloninger's departure, and where he's headed next.

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The meteorologist said that he's been dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Gloninger announced his plans to move on from KCCI on Twitter last week. During the Wednesday, June 21 news broadcast, the meteorologist confirmed that his last day on-air would be July 7.

"18 years. 7 stations. 5 states. I am bidding farewell to TV to embark on a new journey dedicated to helping solve the climate crisis," the statement reads. "After a death threat stemming from my climate coverage last year and resulting in PTSD, in addition to family health issues, I've decided to begin this journey *now*."

In a statement, KCCI echoed this, writing, "Gloninger is leaving television to focus on caring for his family and his own mental health. He plans to pursue work in climate consulting."

Gloninger received a series of threatening emails.

Person scrolling through their email inbox

The death threat in question arrived via email last summer, but it was just one of several messages. Gloninger shared some of the messages—all of which came from the same email address—on Twitter last July.

"My #climate coverage has garnered negative feedback. But last month I received the first threat, followed by a flow of harassing emails," Gloninger wrote on July 16, 2022. "Police are investigating. It's mentally exhausting & at times I have NOT been ok. If you're facing this & need someone to talk to, I'm here."

With the tweet, he included four screenshots of the unsettling emails, including the message that seemingly threatened his life.

"What's your home address, we conservative Iowans would like to give you an Iowan welcome you will never forget," the email read.

The second portion was partially grayed out, but mentioned Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh—an apparent reference to the man who was charged with attempted murder and arrested near Kavanaugh's home last June.

Other messages were equally irate, calling Gloninger "an idiot" and using aggressive language.

"Getting sick and tired of your liberal conspiracy theory on the weather, climate changes every day, always has, always will, your pushing nothing but a Biden hoax, go back to where you came from," an email from June 21, 2022, reads.

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He had experienced earlier pushback about his coverage.

chris gloninger WISN news coverage
WISN 12 News

Gloninger, a New York native, has worked for several different stations, including WISN-TV in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and NBC 10 Boston (WBTS-TV), winning several regional Emmy awards along the way. He told The Washington Post there was consistent pushback about climate coverage, but when he moved to Iowa in 2021 and took the position at KCCI, it intensified.

At first, Gloninger was ready to deal with the criticism.

"Since it wasn't covered much here beforehand, I wasn't surprised," Gloninger told USA Today about his position in Iowa. "Just because it's a topic that may be politicized, it's science, so I do embrace the pushback."

Gloninger responded to the first aggressive email he received last summer, but when the sender replied with the more threatening message asking for his address, his concerns intensified, and he contacted the authorities. Messages continued to come in, which is when Gloninger sought professional help for PTSD.

The sender was identified as a 63-year-old man from Lenox, Iowa, last August. The culprit was ordered to pay a $180.75 fine, The New York Times reported.

Gloninger is now fully focused on studying climate change.

chris gloninger departure announement

Even though the sender was identified, Gloninger told The Washington Post that it was hard for him to "reengage fully" at work in the aftermath. His situation was further complicated by undisclosed family health issues.

In his Twitter announcement, he thanked friends and colleagues for their support, as well as KCCI "for being so understanding." Gloninger also confirmed to the NYT that he is taking a job as a senior scientist with Woods Hole Group, a company in Massachusetts that researches climate change.

"I take immense pride in having educated the public about the impacts of climate change during my career," he wrote on Twitter. "Now, I will devote my full-time efforts to finding sustainable solutions and fostering positive change. Let's confront this challenge head on and shape a more resilient future for generations to come. Thank you for your support, and let's continue working together."

Speaking with the NYT, Gloninger went on to say that his situation isn't an uncommon experience.

"[It] isn't unique to me, it isn't unique to our profession, and I think that it will continue if we continue to elevate voices that support hate," he told the newspaper.

Abby Reinhard
Abby Reinhard is a Senior Editor at Best Life, covering daily news and keeping readers up to date on the latest style advice, travel destinations, and Hollywood happenings. Read more
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