Thursday, 24 January, 2019

New York weatherman fired over racial slur in forecast

Jeremy Kappell Modal Trigger Jeremy Kappell Twitter
Charles Bowen | 09 January, 2019, 14:08

Rochester, New York station WHEC-TV has fired a meteorologist after he used a racial slur during a live broadcast on Friday evening. "Park." The incident occurred during Friday's News10NBC 5:30 p.m. broadcast. Memorial Park, Jeremy Kappell referred to it as "Martin Luther Coon King Jr".

"You know damn well you said Martin Luther "Coon" King Jr Park".

The Rochester Association of Black Journalists (RABJ) also issued a statement Sunday condemning the use of the racial slur on air.

Outraged viewers demanded Kappell's firing soon after the moment hit the air. This word has no place on News10NBC's air, and the fact that we broadcast it disheartens and disgusts me; that it was not caught immediately is inexcusable.

Kappell was joined by his wife in his video statement, saying he had been a meteorologist for almost 20 years and was disappointed in the station's decision to fire him and thanking people for support during what he called an ordeal.

In a Facebook video he appeared with his wife Lisa and said the slur was a "simple misunderstanding" caused by speaking too fast.

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The audio of the alleged incident, however, has sparked much controversy; while some Rochesterians have claimed that the word was said in malice and intentional, others - including the meteorologist himself - have argued that it was an unintentional jumbling of words. "If you did feel it hurt you in any way I sincerely apologize", he said in WHEC's statement, which was included at the bottom of the webpage.

WHEC's vice president and general manager Richard A. Reingold said in a statement released Sunday that Kappell was sacked after an internal investigation and discussion. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.is one of America's greatest heroes - for whom I, and all of us at News10NBC, have the utmost respect. I'm a lover of words, photography, books, travel, animals and The Ohio State Buckeyes. "It is beyond unacceptable that this occurred", Warren said in a press release. "I regret that we did not immediately interrupt our broadcast and apologize on the spot", Reingold said in a statement. "There must be real consequences for the news personality involved and also for the management team that failed to immediately apologize and address the slur".

Rochester radio station 95.1 reported Monday that Kappell had been fired, and he confirmed the news in a tweet responding to a supporter. "Second, the persona Jeremy Kappell has portrayed during his year in Rochester doesn't seem consistent with someone who is a racist", Lonsberry wrote.

He began at WHEC-TV in October 2017 succeeding longtime meteorologist Kevin Williams.

The statement criticized the station further, and condemned the gap between the incident and WHEC's official apology.

"I'm so disappointed that my career could end this way and I'm extremely disappointed by my television station, whom I expect a certain level of support from and I did not receive at all", he said.

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