‘Astonishingly awful’: Sacramento TV reporter bashed after jumping on classic cars

An on-air personality who has appeared on CBS 13 and Good Day Sacramento is being criticized after a disastrous live segment showed him jumping on classic cars, striking poses and evading barriers on the floor of the Sacramento International Auto Show on Sunday.

The segment, featuring videographer Angel Cardenas, drew sharp backlash after airing Sunday. Car enthusiasts from across the nation flooded Good Day Sacramento’s Facebook page to demand apologies after videos and screenshots of the incident drew viral attention. The story made national headlines, including a story by Newsweek.

Video posted by social media users shows Cardenas standing alone amid a sea of bright-colored, 1950s-era Ford Thunderbirds before the auto exhibition opened to the public for its final day, at one point saying he felt like a “kid in a candy store,” unsupervised.

A video segment titled “Sacramento International Auto Show,” appears to have been removed from the Good Day Sacramento (KMAX) website, though a thumbnail preview and brief description of a segment starring Cardenas could still be found through the site’s search function Tuesday. Viewers recorded the segment and posted it to social media.

“No one is out here to tell me which car I can’t go in because some of these are off limits so I’m just going to live on the wild side, tell me what you think about this pose here?” Cardenas asks a woman off-camera, hopping onto the rear trunk of a vehicle and sitting for a few seconds in a casual pose with his shoes touching the body of the car.

Moments later, Cardenas walks over to a light pink Thunderbird and opens the driver’s side door a bit too wide, dinging the door of yet another adjacent Thunderbird.

“Nobody’s looking,” he says, swiveling his head before getting out to observe the second car for damage. “Hold on, zoom in. It’s not dented, is it? There’s no paint?”

Officials with the auto show said Monday in a social media post that they reached out to KMAX, which is owned by CBS, regarding the incident and an executive told them the involved reporter was “terminated immediately.”

Stacey Castle Bascom, the producer of the auto show and head of Castle Communications, Inc. in Gold River, told The Bee that Cardenas “jumped on two cars, one which was owned privately.” Neither car was ultimately damaged, she said, but auto show officials were nonetheless outraged.

“This was an isolated incident with a rogue reporter and fortunately neither one of the cars was damaged. I reached out immediately to the management of the station calling for an apology to all involved in the incident,” Bascom said. “I received a call from KMAX yesterday and was informed the reporter in question was no longer in their employ.”

Bascom notes that the annual auto show “has always enjoyed a great relationship with all of our local media.”

Justin Draper, the general manager of KMAX and KOVR (CBS 13), did not respond to The Sacramento Bee’s requests for comment. Mike Nelson, senior vice president of communications at CBS Television Stations, to which both stations are affiliated, said in an email response to The Bee that KMAX is declining comment. KMAX and KOVR share a studio, on-air talent and other resources.

As of Tuesday morning, Cardenas was not included on either the “cast” page on the Good Day Sacramento website or the “news team” page for CBS 13, which includes lists of the station’s anchors and reporters.

Cardenas, who on his website identifies himself as a Sacramento-based “Cinematographer/ TV Personality,” as a “Feature Reporter” for Good Day Sacramento and as a “News Reporter” for CBS 13, did not immediately respond to The Bee’s requests for comment.

In a LinkedIn profile, Cardenas lists his tenure with CBS 13 and Good Day Sacramento as spanning January 2012 to March 2015, while his role as “director/filmmaker” stretches 2010 to present. Those timelines match a bio on his professional website. He has appeared in on-air segments for the latter station several times between March and September, videos on the Good Day website and YouTube page show.

In Facebook comments, multiple viewers who had emailed CBS 13 to complain about the incident said they received a response from Draper, with some of those users including screenshots of emails. In the responses, Draper condemns Cardenas’ actions as “unacceptable” and apologizes on behalf of the station, but does not say whether Cardenas has been disciplined.

The incident was originally reported Monday by automotive enthusiast blog Tire Meets Road, which documented and broke down Cardenas’ on-screen antics.

“Standing in the middle of some classic Ford Thunderbirds, cars that owners spent thousands of dollars and man-hours restoring, Angel leaps onto the trunk of a Yellow Ford Thunderbird, the entire weight of his body pressing onto the classic sheet metal,” Paulo Acoba of Tire Meets Road wrote.

The four-minute segment ends with Cardenas sneaking under a railing to jump on the front hood of a silver Ford SUV on a raised exhibition display, again putting his feet on the exterior of the car, before someone off-screen tells him to get off. He eventually complies, the video shows.

As Tire Meets Road noted, the Thunderbirds displayed at the weekend show were loaned from the Sacramento Classic Thunderbird Club.

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Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.