(Gray News) - A typical Friday night newscast turned sour when WHEC-TV’s meteorologist Jeremy Kappell said “Martin Luther Coon Park” live on air.
The broadcaster was referring to a park in Rochester, NY, being named after civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. when the racial slur was heard across airwaves.
An uproar ensued after clips of Kappell saying the slur made their way around social media.
Kappell has since taken to social media himself to defend his actions as a mistake caused by speaking too fast.
He posted a video to Facebook, explaining the incident as a “simple misunderstanding.”
“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,” Kappell wrote in the Facebook post.
Reports say Kappell immediately said “King” after using the slur, then continued on with the broadcast.
WHEC released a statement on Sunday, two days after the incident, stating that Kappell was fired after an internal investigation.
“As a result of that broadcast, meteorologist Jeremy Kappell is no longer with News10NBC.” said Richard A. Reingold, the station’s Vice-President and General Manager.
“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. I regret that we did not immediately interrupt our broadcast and apologize on the spot,” he continued.
The Rochester Association of Black Journalists criticized the news organization for not responding sooner.
“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,” RABJ wrote in an Instagram post.
According to reports, Kappell says he is not satisfied with WHEC’s response to the incident.