Mayor Lovely Warren is calling for the firing of a meteorologist at WHEC-TV over something said on the air. Jeremy Kappell was talking about Martin Luther King Jr. park during a broadcast on Friday. Some say he said a racial slur and others say he just fumbled over his words. You can listen to the audio below:
On behalf of News10NBC, I apologize for our broadcast of a racial slur in reference to Martin Luther King, Jr. Park during our Friday evening broadcast (1/4/19). 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. I regret that we did not immediately interrupt our broadcast and apologize on the spot.
I am personally investigating how and why this happened. 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.
Richard A. Reingold Vice-President and General Manager
Mayor Lovely A. Warren, Council President Loretta C. Scott and the Rochester City Council released a statement regarding the incident saying:
"It is wrong, hurtful and infuriating that WHEC Channel 10 broadcast a racial slur in reference to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during its Friday News broadcast. 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. But, there is a larger issue here. An issue that is exemplified by the response of management at Channel 10. It took the station nearly two days to apologize, and only after the station was shamed into doing so by a backlash on social media. This incident, along with the very recent news article containing a racially-charged accusation calling an African-American judge a "Carpetbagger," demonstrates the need for greater cultural sensitivity and competency within the local media.
While referring to African Americans in racially derogatory, insensitive and vulgar language needs to be addressed immediately, there are other issues at play as well that feed into this cultural ignorance. Promotional videos and other productions from local media often do not reflect the diversity of our community.
To address these issues, we invite the local media and their management to join with the City as part of the National League of Cities’ REAL (Race, Equity and Leadership) committee National Day of Racial Healing on Jan. 22 to have an open and honest conversation about how we can move forward."