Chopper pilot from Brian Williams’ embellished story weighs in on NBC punishment

NBC’s Brian Williams is off the air — at least for a while.

NBC News announced Tuesday that it was suspending anchor for six months without pay. A move that will cost him about $5 million of his $10 million-plus salary, according to the New York Post.

Chief Allan Kelly, the pilot of the helicopter involved in Williams’ story expressed his thoughts about the punishment on “Hannity.”

“I hate to see somebody lose their career over making a mistake. You take away the thousand-dollar suits and the prestige of the position that he holds, and he’s still a human being like the rest of us, and I’d like to think if I screwed up that someone would have compassion on me and some forgiveness, but still hold me accountable,” Kelly said.

NBC News president Deborah Turness sent a memo to staff explaining the decision.

“We have decided today to suspend Brian Williams as Managing Editor and Anchor of NBC Nightly News for six months. The suspension will be without pay and is effective immediately,” Turness wrote. “We let Brian know of our decision earlier today. Lester Holt will continue to substitute Anchor the NBC Nightly News.”

“While on Nightly News on Friday, January 30, 2015, Brian misrepresented events which occurred while he was covering the Iraq War in 2003,” she added. “It then became clear that on other occasions Brian had done the same while telling that story in other venues. This was wrong and completely inappropriate for someone in Brian’s position.”

Perhaps the most interesting part of the memo is when Turness indicates that this may not be the only story on which Williams has bent the truth.

“We have concerns about comments that occurred outside NBC News while Brian was talking about his experiences in the field,” she wrote.

She ended the memo showing support for Williams.

“Brian’s life’s work is delivering the news. I know Brian loves his country, NBC News and his colleagues,” Turness wrote. “He deserves a second chance and we are rooting for him. Brian has shared his deep remorse with me and he is committed to winning back everyone’s trust.”


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