BREAKING NEWS : Large police presence at Fort Wayne Glenbrook Square Mall Full Story

New York meteorologist fired after using racial slur on air

A television station in Rochester, New York, fired a meteorologist Sunday after he used a racial slur on air...

Posted: Jan 9, 2019 10:13 AM
Updated: Jan 9, 2019 10:13 AM

A television station in Rochester, New York, fired a meteorologist Sunday after he used a racial slur on air.

During WHEC-TV's Friday evening broadcast, Jeremy Kappell said "Martin Luther Coon Park," when referring to a downtown Rochester park named after slain civil rights movement leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Continents and regions

Discrimination

New York (State)

New York City

North America

Northeastern United States

Racism and racial discrimination

Societal issues

Society

The Americas

United States

Broadcasting industry

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Cable and television industry

Earth sciences

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Media industry

Meteorology

Misc people

Science

Internet and WWW

Social media

Technology

In a video viewed by CNN, Kappell says "King" immediately after using the slur and continues with the broadcast.

Kappell said his use of the slur was a mistake caused by 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 weather cast, 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.

Kappell said as soon as he heard the mispronunciation he "put emphasis on 'King' and moved on."

"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.

Slur causes uproar on social media

Clips of Kappell using the racial slur made the rounds on social media over the weekend, prompting Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren and the city council to release a statement Sunday.

"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," the 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."

The mayor and city council called for Kappell's termination and for an examination of WHEC's response to the incident.

"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," the statement read.

The Rochester Association of Black Journalists (RABJ) also issued a statement Sunday condemning the use of the racial slur on air. The organization's statement said it viewed a recording of the incident provided by a viewer.

"This is completely unacceptable and contrary to all standards of broadcasting," the statement read. "We expect a complete explanation of what happened, who was responsible and why nothing was said immediately after the Friday broadcast. We also want to know what measures will be taken to prevent incidents like this from occurring in the future."

WHEC's vice president and general manager Richard A. Reingold said in a statement released Sunday that Kappell was fired after an internal investigation and discussion.

"I apologize for our broadcast of a racial slur in a reference to Martin Luther King, Jr. Park during our Friday evening broadcast," Reingold said. He added that the station believes in holding reporters and anchors "to the highest standard."

"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," Reingold said.

Reingold said the station's decision to fire Kappell was not influenced by the call from the city's mayor.

"We learned about this Sunday morning, unfortunately quite a while after the incident happened. The minute we learned about it we jumped on it," he said on air Sunday. "We came to the decision we did sometime before I knew of Mayor Warren's position. So I welcome her position, I understand it, I respect it, but it did not have any impact on our decision because we didn't know about it."

Kappell said in his video that he has been a meteorologist for 20 years. His LinkedIn page says he had been with WHEC since October 2017.

Kappell said he was not satisfied with the station's response to the incident.

"I'm so disappointed that my career could end this way and I'm extremely disappointed by my television station, whom I expect a certain level of support from and I did not receive at all," he said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 318894

Reported Deaths: 5561
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion43391855
Lake27599462
Allen18363299
Elkhart17474226
St. Joseph17071234
Hamilton13376169
Vanderburgh9839121
Tippecanoe880629
Porter844886
Johnson6556169
Hendricks6267158
Vigo618187
Monroe542850
Clark522877
Madison5153122
Delaware5014103
LaPorte474695
Kosciusko468540
Howard357977
Warrick329872
Floyd324978
Bartholomew323563
Wayne318074
Marshall308146
Cass302631
Grant282050
Noble261546
Hancock260355
Henry252837
Boone248754
Dubois242931
Dearborn222631
Jackson222534
Morgan215543
Knox189720
Shelby189556
Gibson189426
Clinton182121
DeKalb181632
Lawrence179748
Adams171022
Wabash168121
Miami166614
Daviess160144
Steuben150713
Fayette150034
Jasper147413
Montgomery146627
Harrison145524
LaGrange145031
Whitley140814
Ripley138515
Huntington130910
Decatur128243
Wells127930
Putnam127828
White127522
Clay126523
Randolph126121
Posey124116
Jefferson122916
Scott112320
Greene104653
Jay100713
Sullivan99216
Starke94021
Jennings88714
Fulton86419
Spencer8588
Perry83721
Fountain8078
Washington7837
Franklin71327
Carroll69613
Orange69028
Vermillion6444
Owen6317
Tipton58927
Parke5886
Newton56912
Rush5658
Blackford54012
Pike51619
Pulaski41115
Martin3645
Benton3553
Brown3514
Crawford3031
Union2752
Switzerland2605
Warren2542
Ohio2337
Unassigned0266

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 382743

Reported Deaths: 6274
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin51161671
Cuyahoga37222743
Hamilton30493372
Montgomery20518236
Butler15199148
Lucas14566417
Summit13933327
Stark9193206
Warren841976
Mahoning7530300
Lake710067
Lorain6690106
Clermont593651
Delaware572537
Licking564577
Trumbull5584147
Fairfield554464
Greene538066
Clark5218101
Allen494989
Marion476759
Medina471657
Wood4598107
Miami437568
Pickaway404048
Portage358972
Columbiana357698
Tuscarawas342667
Richland328539
Wayne327394
Mercer296047
Muskingum252510
Hancock245940
Ross244559
Auglaize236435
Darke232560
Erie230268
Putnam229449
Ashtabula228354
Geauga211851
Scioto200616
Union19668
Shelby194017
Lawrence193039
Athens19134
Seneca182919
Belmont170229
Madison163119
Sandusky157729
Preble156521
Huron155519
Defiance144823
Holmes140439
Logan133517
Knox131718
Fulton128726
Jefferson128613
Crawford126817
Washington125227
Ottawa124530
Clinton109115
Williams10799
Ashland107825
Highland103718
Brown10135
Henry101323
Hardin99719
Champaign9825
Van Wert97318
Jackson96212
Fayette92717
Morrow9202
Guernsey89314
Coshocton85215
Perry82912
Adams80313
Pike7661
Gallia76513
Wyandot73217
Paulding66511
Hocking64516
Noble62224
Carroll48810
Meigs39612
Monroe32321
Morgan2685
Vinton2246
Harrison2193
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 40°
Angola
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 40°
Huntington
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 43°
Decatur
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 45°
Van Wert
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 45°
Mostly Cloudy Black Friday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events