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Lemon to meteorologist: We all make mistakes

Jeremy Kappell, the meteorologist who was fired for using a racial slur on air, told CNN's Don Lemon it was a mispronunciation. Lemon said he believes the weatherman's explanation and doesn't understand why he was fired.

Posted: Jan 11, 2019 8:41 PM
Updated: Jan 11, 2019 8:53 PM

Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell says he could tell he was fumbling his words on air last week, but like any TV journalist, he said he had to keep going.

The former weatherman for WHEC-TV defended himself on "CNN Tonight" with Don Lemon Thursday night.

"It was a mispronunciation and I could tell that I was fumbling the words a little bit. The moment I realized that I was fumbling I immediately put the emphasis on King, not knowing that I had made a major error," Kappell told Lemon. "I did what all of us journalists do. I moved on."

Kappell was fired last Sunday after saying a racial slur on a January 4 broadcast. During the station's Friday night broadcast, Kappell said "Martin Luther Coon Park" when referring to a downtown park named after Martin Luther King Jr. in Rochester, New York.

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

Read statement from News10NBC's General Manager

When asked why it took him time to respond, Kappell said he didn't even know what it was he said.

"Not only did I not hear it, but the other three people that were in the studio at the time with me, my co-anchors, they also did not hear it. The people in the control room, also no one came forward and said they heard it, either," Kappell said.

Lemon backed Kappell in his account and related to his situation.

"I thought that your apology was sincere. That's my opinion. And I don't understand why you were fired. We make mistakes," Lemon said.

And he isn't the only journalist backing Kappell. Longtime weatherman Al Roker, a personality on NBC's "Today" show later defended Kappell. Kappell "made an unfortunate flub and should be given the chance to apologize" on the station, Roker wrote on social media.

"Anyone who has done live tv and screwed up (google any number of ones I've done) understands," Roker wrote on social media.

But even with the support of notable figures in the media, Kappell has been on the defense on social media.

"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 last Monday night.

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

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.

Confirmed Cases: 76522

Reported Deaths: 3086
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion16194731
Lake7742281
Elkhart495586
Allen4040163
St. Joseph361083
Hamilton2887104
Vanderburgh205313
Hendricks1943108
Cass18069
Johnson1794119
Porter136239
Clark130750
Tippecanoe124511
Madison103066
LaPorte93530
Howard92065
Kosciusko87212
Floyd82249
Bartholomew82147
Marshall79423
Monroe76732
Delaware76052
Vigo71411
Dubois71312
Boone69746
Noble69029
Hancock68839
Jackson5975
Warrick58830
Shelby56828
LaGrange56610
Grant53130
Dearborn51628
Morgan48934
Clinton4504
Henry41820
Wayne38810
White37711
Montgomery36021
Lawrence35727
Harrison35224
Decatur34232
Putnam3218
Daviess27920
Miami2772
Scott27310
Jasper2572
Greene25434
Franklin24715
DeKalb2384
Gibson2334
Jennings22812
Steuben2153
Ripley2138
Carroll2003
Fayette1957
Perry18713
Posey1800
Starke1807
Orange17824
Wells1782
Fulton1732
Wabash1715
Jefferson1662
Knox1640
Whitley1566
Tipton14912
Washington1441
Sullivan1411
Spencer1393
Clay1315
Huntington1273
Randolph1274
Newton12110
Adams1172
Owen1051
Jay920
Rush894
Pulaski821
Fountain762
Brown752
Blackford662
Ohio656
Benton640
Pike620
Vermillion590
Parke551
Switzerland530
Martin500
Crawford450
Union410
Warren241
Unassigned0208

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 104248

Reported Deaths: 3734
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin18965531
Cuyahoga13869512
Hamilton9844259
Lucas5512326
Montgomery448998
Summit3667224
Butler303364
Marion294245
Mahoning2623256
Pickaway240042
Stark1904142
Warren185039
Lorain183177
Columbiana168360
Trumbull1563110
Fairfield143232
Delaware136519
Licking134551
Clark121315
Lake114642
Wood109058
Clermont96211
Medina95936
Miami86839
Tuscarawas79714
Allen79446
Portage77664
Greene73012
Mercer64113
Belmont62726
Richland61912
Erie61028
Ashtabula57746
Geauga56144
Wayne55459
Ross5094
Madison50310
Darke41429
Huron4115
Ottawa40426
Sandusky39917
Hancock3973
Athens3612
Holmes3316
Lawrence3180
Auglaize2756
Union2731
Scioto2591
Muskingum2481
Jefferson2403
Seneca2344
Shelby2154
Knox2147
Preble2122
Putnam21217
Washington21122
Coshocton1967
Champaign1882
Morrow1792
Crawford1775
Hardin17512
Clinton1716
Highland1692
Logan1672
Ashland1553
Fulton1551
Defiance1544
Wyandot1519
Brown1502
Perry1483
Williams1373
Fayette1240
Henry1222
Hocking1229
Guernsey1197
Carroll1135
Monroe9418
Pike800
Jackson770
Gallia741
Van Wert732
Paulding700
Adams642
Meigs580
Vinton322
Morgan300
Harrison261
Noble170
Unassigned00
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