Why I Left KDVR and TV News
Heidi Hemmat | Thursday, November 24, 2016 | Comments (100)
So, I think people are just starting to realize I am no longer with KDVR or on TV. Not surprising since there was no official announcement or acknowledgement
from the station’s management. The reason I left is downright terrifying. Many of you remember the “dumpster dive,” that was a promo for the station–me
standing in a guy’s dumpster confronting him about destroying documents that he was ordered to turn over by the Colorado Attorney general’s office.
The consumer fraud charges and criminal case against him were the result of a 4 part investigation–I worked very hard to expose this guy–and in
the end, I paid a very high price. There’s a reason why I’m not saying his name–it’s because I’m still scared of him. Shortly after he learned
about the charges against him, that were a direct result of me, I got a call from his psychiatrist. She told me he was “homicidal” and was planning
to kill me. The psychiatrist thought the threat was so credible, she broke HPPA laws (the laws that protect medical records of psychos, such as
the theater shooter–James Holmes) to warn me. She informed me he was on a “72 hour mental hold” but because it was 4th of July weekend, (2015)
he would likely be released before then. She then asked me if I had somewhere else I could go because he knew where I lived and of course, where
I worked. I remember the chill than ran from the top of my head to the soles of my feet. Of course I had nowhere to go! I have 2 children, then
1 and 3, I couldn’t just leave on a whim –where would I go? And when would I return? Would it ever be safe? I filed reports with police stations,
got a restraining order, the guy even ended up in an ankle bracelet–but my sense of safety was gone–and the way I viewed my job–forever changed.
Unfortunately, my boss didn’t see it that way, she did pay for a few days of security at my home, undercover Denver police officers, but when the
weekend came, she expressed concern about how much it was costing and downplayed the threat “he’s not going to do anything to you,” she said, “if
he was going to kill you he would have done it by now.” And from that point forward, there was no more station provided security. The next 6 months
were awful. I distinctly remember a day when the guy “tampered with his ankle monitor” and I was informed by the victim advocate that he had broke
it and the county could not track him. I promptly put my kids in the car and started driving, where? I don’t know. But as they babbled in their
little toddler way in the back seat, all I could do was hide my fear, never letting on that their mommy could be taken from them–worse –they could
be injured in the crossfire. By the way, I also by this point had a gun for the first time in my life. My boss, once again feigned empathy and
concern…but I know now she always thought I was over-reacting. Meantime, the case against this guy was moving forward (for consumer fraud)
and every time he was in court, my boss wanted a follow up story. I finally went to her and said “we solved this problem, he is no longer in business,
he’s facing millions of dollars in penalties and nobody will ever be ripped off again, can’t we just stop following this story? I feel my life
is in danger every time we do.” Her response, I’ll never forget, “Heidi, we’re journalists, we are not going to stop doing stories just because
he had a temper tantrum.” A “temper tantrum,” his psychiatrist certainly didn’t see it that way. And we had dropped stories before–for much less…let’s
just say, if you advertised you had a much less chance of being on TV for a bad reason…Regardless of how I felt, I still powered through.
I even chased down an electrician with my high heels and purse for the May ratings period. All the bosses were happy, but I knew I couldn’t keep
ambushing people who did bad things to other people. Society has changed. People have changed. My physical and mental health were unraveling. As
soon as that ratings period ended I took an unpaid leave of absence, and in August I asked to be let out of my contract. My boss sent out a note
to the staff that failed to acknowledge my 15 years of service at KDVR, the 6 Emmy awards I had won for the station or the fact that I had literally
put my life on the line. It just said “Heidi is no longer an employee of FOX 31.”
I write this blog now, and it feels good to get the pain I felt off my chest. But what really feels good, so, so good, is looking at my family and
my kids –and knowing mommy isn’t doing anything unsafe in the name of journalism. I have spent more time with my kids in the past 6 months than
in the entire 4 years of my son’s life. My kids are happy, my husband is happy, our marriage is stronger than ever, and what really feels good
–is Heidi Hemmat Productions is going to have an incredible year, especially for a less than 1 year old company. Thank you to my family, thank
you to my clients, thank you to my friends, thank you to my fans, but most of all THANK YOU GOD. In my darkest time, you answered my prayers and
out of nowhere, lawyers started calling me–looking for legal case documentaries. Words cannot express my gratitude.
Comments (100) | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink
Heidi, Well done Heidi. Embrace the change in your life. If you do half the great job you did for Fox 31, you will have great success as your own boss. Best of luck and god bless.
Heidi we miss you, but we understand where you are coming from. I would have done the same. Your family is Blessed to have a mother,wife that puts them first. God Bless you and Have a Happy Thanksgiving. Your fan Phil.
I am very sad to hear this kind of b.s coming from this station. A news station which I will no longer part take in watching...ever. I only wish the best of luck. Also, I know the feeling of being dumped, pushed aside...
Very bad of your former station to not only put you in danger,but then fail to protect you from the results of doing your job for them. I wondered you went. Now that I know I will be watching for your work in the future. Best of luck and stay safe.
Heidi, I enjoyed watching your reporting for years. I retired from Denver PD in 2014 and moved out of Colorado, so I hadn’t heard about all this crap that this guy put you through. I just want to say you have my respect and admiration for putting your and your family’s safety first and walking away when you saw the danger. Knowing what I know about how these nuts can explode in a violent rage, I think you did the right thing, and 31’s lack of support is reprehensible. Best wishes in your new endeavor and there’s plenty of sunshine to go around down here in AZ if you get tired of snow.
Saw this on Fox News. What a terrible ordeal that you suffered, made worse because your employer did not have your back. I think you should sue the guy for threatening your life and for forcing you to quit your job, therefore resulting in a loss of income. I certainly can’t imagine you losing the civil suit. Have a good life with your children!
Yes I agree with you fox 31 did you shitty but you keep moving forward with your production company you ROCK!
I am truly sorry this happened to you. I’m sure just like everyone else I had no idea. Stay strong and have a Happy Thanksgiving.
Heidi, I worried about your extensive reporting. I remember that case very well. You did a very good job, but was very scary, he was scary. Thank God you are safe now.
Heidi, I was watching your segment that you are describing that night on TV. I remember how angry that individual became and was wondering how you do it. I am friends with you on FB and sent you a message about how I was hoping you had a bodyguard or a CCW permit in case that wacko decided to take action against you. I was wondering what happened to you because KDVR did not mention anything. Sorry to hear they did not take you and your life more seriously. It is a more dangerous society we live in nowadays unfortunately. Hopefully you are still here in Colorado and I wish you and your family success in your new endeavors and we stay in touch.
Wow, that is just incredible. I’m glad you were able to leave your job, and I’m glad that you’re safe. And...I think there’s a pretty good story in here, especially about your boss. Talk about non-supportive! I also would love to hear more about investigations being curtailed when they involved advertisers.
Oh wow Heidi, I had no clue but always wondering why I never see you on fox anymore. Glad to hear you and family are safe. We as mother’s are always told to follow our instincts, and you did the right thing in my opinion. I wish you success on your new adventure. Looking forward to your next blog. Happy Thanksgiving to you and the family.
I truly wondered if something was up when you left. Your leaving is our loss but I can’t think of a better reason to leave than for your family. I hope your new business thrives, Heidi. Keep up the good work and stay safe.
Wow, what a story, I had no idea, as did anyone. You were great Heidi, karma will hopefully get the asshole boss at Fox 31.
Heidi, I have been a huge supporter and follower for years and I could not be happier for you, your family and your future! It’s is AWESOME & EMPOWERING to hear & see you stand up for yourself, your kids and for what is right regardless of everything you accomplished and had at the station. No one will take better care of you than YOU. Best of everything in your new business!
I’m glad you’re okay. It’s a shame that people can act like he did and like your employer did. I wish you the best.
Heidi, Like others, knew you weren’t on KDVR any longer, remember the story, but wow! Thank you for sharing! You exposed two jerks! First the guy, then Fox management. You are awesome! Best to you and your family!
Heidi, I’m happy to hear you have come through this horrible situation and ended up stronger for it. Although, knowing you for so long, I can honestly say I don’t know many women that are stronger than you. Good luck and Go Bless. Happy Thanksgiving!
Heidi, our house misses you on the KDVR newscast. We are glad you are safe and happy. Their loss is our gain. You are a strong woman. Glad your family is okay, as well. Best wishes for Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas.
Heidi, I am sure that everyone who has followed you for years, if given the opportunity would acknowledge all of your achievements. Even so, there is a greater power who knows what you have done,is proud of you and loves you. So glad to hear that you turned to the Savior in your darkest moment’s. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
Heidi, you have always done a great job reporting the news. Really enjoyed your stories. Best of luck in your new endeavor. Keep in touch.
That is very unfortunate, I always enjoyed your stories but your safety (including family) is much more important. I hope you do something that you love and enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving.
You prevailed and came away a winner. Courage is a difficult thing to find in the so-called news business. You exemplified it!
I applaud your strength and resolve. Hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday!