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Shea Grandquest, Mastermind Behind Gang Rape Billboard, Exits VP-GM Post at WPMI

The Shea Grandquest era at WPMI has ended.

Grandquest, who has been the NBC-affiliate’s vice president and general manager since 2008, was let go this week.  Multiple employees confirmed to Mobile’s Lagniappe Magazine that Grandquest had been shown the door.

During his time atop WPMI, Grandquest focused on new ways for the station to connect with viewers, especially through social media. His drive for new media innovation backfired in 2009 when a digital billboard displaying live updates from the station’s Twitter feed embarrassingly displayed the tweet “3 Accused of Gang Rape in Monroeville” alongside an image of anchors Greg Peterson and Kym Thurman, and chief meteorologist Derek Beasley.

A photo of the billboard, taken by an observant driver, made the internet rounds and popular social media blog Mashable labeled it an “Epic Fail.”

Here’s the notorious billboard:

As tech site CNET noted at the time, “Sometimes ingenuity doesn’t quite lead you to a comfortable place.”

The station, which serves the Mobile-Pensacola market, suspended Grandquest and news director Wes Finley following the billboard snafu.

Before being named VP-GM in September of 2008, Grandquest served as director of sales.

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