STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Al Roker defends the meteorologist who was fired for a racist slur

The meteorologist fired over the use of a racial slur on air just got a big defender -- high-profile weather...

Posted: Jan 9, 2019 11:25 PM
Updated: Jan 9, 2019 11:25 PM

The meteorologist fired over the use of a racial slur on air just got a big defender -- high-profile weatherman Al Roker.

Roker, a longtime personality on NBC's "Today" show, defended former WHEC-TV meteorologist Jeremy Kappell after he was fired for saying "Martin Luther Coon Park" when referring to a park named after Martin Luther King Jr. in Rochester, New York.

Al Roker

Celebrities

Discrimination

Earth sciences

Meteorology

Racism and racial discrimination

Science

Societal issues

Society

Weather

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Misc people

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

"I think @JeremyKappell made an unfortunate flub and should be given the chance to apologize on @news10nbc Anyone who has done live tv and screwed up (google any number of ones I've done) understands," Roker tweeted Wednesday.

Viewers of Kappell's Friday night broadcast from were split on whether they think he intentionally or accidentally used the slur.

Kappell has repeatedly said it was an accident -- the result of speaking too quickly and jumbling sounds in a name.

On Wednesday, Kappell publicly thanked Roker for coming to his defense.

"Al, thank you very much," Kappell tweeted. "Your support means so much to this family."

This isn't the first time Roker has made comments about fellow members of the media under fire for perceived racism.

Last year, then-NBC talk show host Megyn Kelly defended the use of blackface in Halloween costumes. She later apologized, but Roker said "she owes a bigger apology to folks of color across the country."

In defending Kappell, Roker said slips of the tongue are easy mistakes to make in live news.

Critics of Kappell said the slur is probably in his regular vocabulary for it to have come out so naturally.

"wowww that video. he definitely says that all the time, which is why it slipped out on air," said Twitter user @notmuchelse.

But Kappell's supporters noted how easy it is to jumble the long "o" sound in "Luther" with the "k" sound in "King," or the sounds in "King" and "Junior" when speaking quickly.

"Say 'King' and 'Junior' 5 times fast and tell me what happens," responded another Twitter user, @JaredG_13_.

More than 33,000 people have signed a petition supporting Kappell, saying he was fired unfairly without being given a chance to explain or apologize.

"We want Jeremy Kappell back on the air," the petition reads.

In response to a critic who said the on-air remark was "racist and willful," Kappell responded:

"You are out of your mind to think I would jeopardize future of my family and career to insert a racial slur against the GREATEST civil rights leader of all time?!?! #Ridiculous #Hateful #Judgemental and #youdontknowthefirsthingaboutme!"

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 605426

Reported Deaths: 9642
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion836221331
Lake45189680
Allen32646547
Hamilton29240315
St. Joseph27260380
Elkhart24354344
Vanderburgh19292248
Tippecanoe17905133
Johnson14974293
Porter14707168
Hendricks14295248
Madison10909220
Vigo10688179
Clark10581139
Monroe9338110
Delaware9089134
LaPorte9007162
Howard8177143
Kosciusko803182
Warrick668798
Hancock6639104
Bartholomew6443100
Floyd6377109
Wayne6106161
Grant5965115
Dubois554079
Boone549467
Morgan535595
Henry505564
Marshall502684
Cass482663
Dearborn476245
Noble471257
Jackson421947
Shelby413881
Lawrence389179
Clinton372043
Gibson369159
DeKalb345964
Harrison345644
Montgomery343354
Knox334339
Miami319844
Steuben313045
Whitley304526
Wabash301447
Adams299635
Ripley297545
Putnam294149
Huntington290659
Jasper288134
White272242
Daviess266774
Jefferson262538
Decatur246583
Fayette246348
Greene239262
Posey238128
Wells234050
LaGrange227662
Scott223439
Clay221832
Randolph212848
Jennings197736
Sullivan191133
Spencer190121
Washington183722
Fountain183127
Starke174843
Jay167022
Owen163637
Fulton163130
Orange157234
Carroll156415
Rush154418
Perry152727
Vermillion148634
Franklin147833
Tipton131832
Parke13038
Pike116226
Blackford110922
Pulaski96837
Newton90721
Brown87534
Benton86510
Crawford7929
Martin73013
Warren6777
Switzerland6575
Union6267
Ohio4867
Unassigned0375

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 853982

Reported Deaths: 10599
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin100550707
Cuyahoga849601082
Hamilton63509448
Montgomery42863417
Summit34586759
Lucas31151616
Butler30735231
Stark25598430
Warren19552140
Lorain18847223
Mahoning17215337
Lake15967154
Clermont15800111
Delaware1430578
Licking13130137
Trumbull12739313
Fairfield1269181
Greene11975136
Medina11504168
Clark10867265
Wood10289158
Allen9826126
Portage9213108
Miami911373
Richland9085117
Marion7437113
Tuscarawas7339181
Columbiana7286124
Pickaway721750
Wayne6987171
Muskingum693941
Erie6113127
Hancock549090
Ross546098
Scioto536364
Geauga503855
Darke467892
Ashtabula451073
Lawrence450154
Union447728
Sandusky434762
Mercer432488
Huron425441
Seneca424865
Auglaize421164
Shelby420522
Jefferson416769
Belmont412740
Washington385240
Athens37669
Putnam373575
Madison352129
Knox350222
Ashland342838
Fulton336543
Defiance328282
Crawford320573
Preble319137
Brown309121
Logan305532
Ottawa290143
Clinton287943
Williams277167
Highland273718
Jackson262445
Guernsey251325
Champaign249728
Fayette235130
Morrow23124
Perry228718
Holmes223874
Henry217349
Hardin211333
Coshocton204521
Van Wert201145
Gallia195426
Wyandot194651
Pike173917
Adams173015
Hocking171024
Carroll154216
Paulding143421
Noble120340
Meigs108024
Monroe100631
Harrison88421
Morgan82629
Vinton69513
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Mostly Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 13°
Feels Like: 20°
Angola
Cloudy
23° wxIcon
Hi: 29° Lo: 12°
Feels Like: 23°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 10°
Feels Like: 20°
Fort Wayne
Mostly Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 13°
Feels Like: 20°
Lima
Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 15°
Feels Like: 20°
Light Snow Sunday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events