An openly gay New York news anchor was caught on camera last week by a group of self-styled child predator catchers who allege he attempted to meet up with a 15-year-old child for sex.
Zach Wheeler, an anchor at local NBC affiliate WETM-TV adamantly denied the accusations although he has been temporarily taken off the air as the station investigates, Fox News reported.
The group of men who cornered him after he drove two hours to purportedly meet the teenager belong to 607 Predator Hunters, which posts videos of their confrontations of allege child sex predators on YouTube.
When the crew pressed Wheeler on why he had arranged to meet the 15-year-old, he claimed it was merely to warn him to get “off of these apps.”
He accused the group of trying to “ruin people’s lives,” lamenting that he’d lose his “job and everything” and that the ambush was “cancel culture.
“Why do you guys do this to gay and lesbian people,” he asked, although the group replied that they target all suspected child predators and their YouTube channel appears to strongly suggest their activities do not discriminate against sexual preferences.
And when the men then pointed to chat logs of Harris’ conversations with the minor, some of which were allegedly sexually explicit, he appeared to change his tune, asking if the group needed money or if he could help get them exposure.
Speaking to Fox News Sunday, a spokesperson from the group noted that the video indicates that child predators can be “hiding in plain sight” and “can be deceiving.”
“Their true ‘behind closed doors’ activities can be eye-opening,” they said. “It’s our job to help make the local area aware and expose these individuals.”
“It’s been great to see the community itself spreading the word,” the group added, noting that this “is what really keeps our children safe.”
WETM-TV said in a statement after the story broke that Harris has been taken off the air and an investigation is underway.
“WETM has been made aware of a video posted to YouTube regarding one of our employees,” the station said. “The local group that posted the video claims that the employee engaged in inappropriate behavior. WETM management is looking into the questions raised by the video, and the employee will remain off the air until the situation is resolved. No charges have been filed in connection with the video.”
Fox also noted that Harris no longer appears on the station’s “Meet the Team” section of its website.
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