An Iowa weather station sparked a firestorm of criticism after one of its forecast graphics used an offensive racial slur last week, the New York Post reports. Journalist Matthew Keys pointed out the error in a now-viral tweet.
“I’ve blurred it, but I’m pretty sure you can figure out what it said,” he wrote about the disturbing image that aired on the Des Moines-based Weather Channel’s “Local on the 8s” segment.
The graphic, shown in an accompanying screenshot, reads: “Hello Des Moines, My N—-s, this is your weather.”
On the other hand, the Weather Channel denies that it was not responsible for the epithet. “This did not originate with us, and we are in the process of investigating it further,” a spokesperson told Keys in a tweet.
In a subsequent tweet, Keys speculated that the offensive message “likely originated at the cable headend” and that “the network is still trying to figure it out.”
Several commenters agreed with his theory. “This came from the cable provider,” one local news expert speculated. “TWC has computer units at cable headends that produce the local on the 8s, and it’s possible that a rogue cable employee messed with the files and caused it to say that.”
The Weather Channel reportedly deleted the offensive graphic and apologized on Facebook for the incident.
“A graphic during the Weather Channel cable network’s ‘Local on the 8s’ presentation in Des Moines last evening included a racial slur,” the post read. “We removed this graphic as soon as we learned of it. This did not originate with us, and we are in the process of investigating it further. We apologize to our viewers.”