Jeremy Kappell, a former meteorologist at WHEC-TV in Rochester, New York, was fired on Sunday, January 6, after he used a racial slur while reporting live on air.
According to reports, during WHEC-TV’s broadcast on the evening of Friday, January 4, Kappell referred to the downtown Rochester park named after Martin Luther King Jr. as “Martin Luther Coon Park.”
By Sunday, January 6, Lovely Warren, the mayor of Rochester, and the city council president were calling for Kappell’s, who was fired by WHEC-TV on Monday, January 7.
After being fired from his position as chief meteorologist at WHEC-TV, Kappell posted an apology video to Facebook, saying that what he said was due to a
“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,” Kappell said in his Facebook apology.
In a statement, The Rochester Association of Black Journalists condemned Kappell’s use of the racial slur on air. Additionally, over 25,000 people have signed a Change.org petition in an effort to get Kappell rehired.
Richard A. Reingold, the general manager of WHEC-TV, said in a statement that “these words have no place on the air and the fact that we broadcast them disheartens and disgusts me.”
You can read WHEC-TV’s full statement about Kappell’s racial slur here:
“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.”
You can watch Kappell’s full apology with his wife below: