A meteorologist on Channel 10 (WHEC) in Rochester was fired Monday for using what sounded like a racial slur during the live broadcast.
While talking Friday about an ice rink at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, WHEC meteorologist Jeremy Kappell appeared to use the word ‘coon’ in the middle of King’s name. (see video above)
For the record, I've never uttered those words in my life. https://t.co/UgkLMmboXY
— Jeremy Kappell (@JeremyKappell) January 7, 2019
Mayor Lovely Warren issued a statement Sunday evening, saying the use of the word was “wrong, hurtful and infuriating.”
She said the person who used the slur should no longer be employed at Channel 10 and that this is part of a larger issue; of how people of color are referred to in local media and that its time to deal with these issues “head on.”
“I implore you all to go back and to look at what you put out there, what you display, all the information that you put out there, and how you depict people of color in this community. Does it reflect everybody in a light that they deserve?”
WHEC-TV Vice President and General Manager Richard Reingold issued this statement:
“On behalf of News10NBC, I apologize for our broadcast of a racial slur in a reference to Martin Luther King, Jr. Park during our Friday evening broadcast (1/4/19). Upon learning of the incident, News10NBC leadership immediately initiated an internal investigation and internal discussion, and by Sunday had made a staffing change.
As a result of that broadcast meteorologist, Jeremy Kappell is no longer with News10NBC. We believe strongly in holding our reporters and anchors to the highest standard. We are proud of our dedicated newsroom professionals, and expect and require that each respects and understands that their behavior reflects directly on the station for which they work and the community we serve.
These words have no place on News10NBC’s air, and the fact that we broadcast them disheartens and disgusts me; that it was not caught immediately is inexcusable. I regret that we did not immediately interrupt our broadcast and apologize on the spot.
Our Friday broadcast does not represent the values of News10NBC, its hardworking staff, or the great people of Rochester. 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 am terribly sorry to all of our viewers. We are redoubling our efforts to ensure that this never happens again.”