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This one’s hard to believe even in 2019 America.
Everyone on Earth has done it. You jumble words together unintentionally, so you correct yourself and go on.
It didn’t work out that way for Rochester meteorologist Jeremy Kappell.
In a weather report the other day, he mentioned Martin Luther King Jr. Park. He (obviously unintentionally) ran together the words “King” and “Junior” in his mind, and it came out jumbled. He immediately corrected himself.
Unfortunately, it came out jumbled sounding like a racial slur.
And as you know, that can never, ever be an accident. We just know it must have been on purpose.
Listen for yourself:
After all, what could be more reasonable than assuming the man decided out of the blue: “The way ahead in broadcast journalism is through racial slurs.”
The Rochester Association of Black Journalists responded with a statement from Richard McCollough, the organization’s president:
“This is completely unacceptable and contrary to all standards of broadcasting. While we are aware that the station has issued an apology, 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.”
Even Lovely Warren, the mayor of Rochester, weighed in: “”It is beyond unacceptable that this occurred. There must be real consequences for the news personality involved and also for the management team that failed to immediately apologize and address the slur. The individual responsible for the slur should no longer be employed at Channel 10.”
Because again, doesn’t it seem totally reasonable to think the guy thought a racial slur on television would be good for his career?
(If he really did think so, he should have been fired for his dangerously low IQ.)
A local headline said the station apologized after the firing; I naively supposed they were apologizing for having thrown their guy under the bus to appease the wolves, knowing full well he’d done nothing wrong.
“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,” said Richard Reingold, vice president and general manager of the station. “I regret that we did not immediately interrupt our broadcast and apologize on the spot.”
(That wouldn’t have looked ridiculous or hysterical at all.)
The man’s life is ruined. Yet nobody — including his accusers — seriously thinks he used an insensitive word on purpose; in what way would he have benefited from that?
But it’s a great opportunity for them to remind everyone that nobody is safe: no matter how decent you may be, or how far removed you may think you are from political debate, one slip of the tongue can literally destroy you.
That’s America, 2019.
All the more reason for the good people to stick together.
I know a whole bunch of them, and I hope to see you in there with me: