Local news broadcasts have long been trusted to be unbiased and an accurate source of news. However, one meterologist for local WHEC News in Rochester, New York left viewers stunned and calling the station to complain for airing his views during a broadcast.
Although WHEC chief meteorologist Jeremy Kappell says that he simply misspoke because he was talking too fast, it was clearly heard when he called Rochester’s Marting Luther King, Jr. Park “Martin Luther Coon” Park.
Rochester’s Mayor Lovely Warren and City Council President Loretta Scott issued a statement following the broadcast calling for his termination. USA Today quoted that statement:
‘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. The individual responsible for the slur should no longer be employed at Channel 10.’
— Sean Lahman (@seanlahman) January 7, 2019
Kappell has since been fired. News10’s General Manager Richard A. Reingold appeared on the new station to explain the decision to fire the meterologist following the event. He told viewers that the mayor was not responsible for the decision.
‘The minute we learned about it we jumped on it. We spent all day yesterday investigating it discussing it and reviewing it. (The mayor) did not have any impact on our decision because we did not know about it.’
Did WHEC News10 meteorologist Jeremey Kappell really call Martin Luther King, Jr. Park in Rochester "Martin Luther Coon King, Jr. Park" during a live broadcast last Friday? Yup. He was fired. Claims he misspoke. Didn't sound like a Freudian slip to me.https://t.co/FYLdhChWDV
— culturegeist (@culturegeist) January 8, 2019
Reingold also issued a written 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.’
Rochester WHEC-TV weatherman @JeremyKappell fired tonight for racial slur on Dr MLKing gives a non-apology that shows he doesn’t get it. Real apologies don’t include a conditional “if.” His failure to be forthright is appalling. #shame
— David Cay Johnston (@DavidCayJ) January 8, 2019
Featured image screenshot via YouTube