Meteorologist Utters Racial Slur On-Air While Saying Martin Luther King Jr.’s Name

Facebook/ Jeremy Kappell

WHEC Rochester's former chief meteorologist says his use of "coon" while saying Martin Luther King Jr. was a mistake.
Tanya A. Christian Jan, 10, 2019

Rochester, New York meteorologist Jeremy Kappel is apologizing after uttering the word “coon” on-air last Friday. The “flub” as he calls it, happened while saying Martin Luther King Jr.’s name.

“This is the way it looked out in Martin Luther “coon” King Jr. Park,” he said on Friday.

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The former chief meteorologist at NBC affiliate WHEC said it was an honest mistake, but that didn’t stop social media users from being outraged by the misstep.

Over the weekend several viewers took to Twitter to demand that Keppel is reprimanded for the use of the word. According to a Today.com story, even Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren weighed in and called for his dismissal.

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On Monday morning, News10NBC general manager Richard A. Reingold announced on air that Kappell was no longer an employee of the station and added that he was “terribly sorry to all of our viewers.”

Keppel also took time to address the matter on Monday. Posting a video to Facebook, Keppel and his wife apologized for the “flub” and wrote, “A heartfelt thanks to all those who have been supporting us. I wanted to take this time to explain our side of the story. Please keep my family in your prayers.”

A heartfelt thanks to all those who have been supporting us. I wanted to take this time to explain our side of the story. Please keep my family in your prayers.

Posted by Jeremy Kappell on Monday, January 7, 2019

 

On social, a number of people have come to the weatherman’s defense including Today’s Al Roker and Craig Melvin. Both men assessed the incident to be a slip-up and acknowledged how common it is as broadcasters.

Although Keppel is receiving an outpouring of support, the TV station who decided to let him go stands by its decision.

“An utterance such as this, with no immediate apology, regardless of intent, is unacceptable and inexcusable,” Reingold and Hubbard said. “There can be no confusion by anyone who works at Hubbard Broadcasting or by anyone in the communities we serve, that this is unacceptable.”