A New York meteorologist was fired after using a racial slur in the middle of a live broadcast. Jeremy Kappell with WHEC-TV said “Martin Luther Coon Park” Friday (Jan. 4) when referencing a downtown park in Rochester named after the late civil right’s leader.
Kappell said King and continued with the broadcast. However, the clip was circulated on social media, which prompted Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren to release a statement.
“It is wrong, hurtful and infuriating that WHEC Channel 10 broadcast a racial slur in reference to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr,” Mayor Warren’s statement read. “It is beyond unacceptable that this occurred. 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.”
Kappell says the slur was an honest flub from speaking too quickly.
“What happened on Friday, to me, it’s a simple misunderstanding. If you watch me regularly you know that I tend to contain a lot of information in my weathercast, which forces me to speak fast and unfortunately I spoke a little too fast when I was referencing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. So fast to the point where I jumbled a couple of words. In my mind, I knew I mispronounced, but there was no malice. I had no idea the way it came across to many people,” he said in a video posted to Facebook Monday night.”
Once he realized his mispronunciation, Kappell says he placed extra emphasis on King.
“I had no idea what some people could have interpreted that as and I know some people did interpret that the wrong way. That was not a word I said, I promise you that. If you did feel that it hurt you in any way, I sincerely apologize,” he said.