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ROCHESTER, N.Y. - A television meteorologist in Rochester, New York, was fired for making a racial slur during a broadcast Friday, the Democrat & Chronicle reported Monday. However, Jeremy Kappell said he “jumbled a couple of words” and called the incident a “simple misunderstanding,” the newspaper reported.
During a weather forecast Friday on Rochester station WHEC that showed a live shot of the city’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, Kappell appeared to refer to the area as “Martin Luther (slur) King Jr. Park,” the Democrat & Chronicle reported.
WHEC general manager Richard A. Reingold confirmed Kappell’s firing and apologized to viewers in a statement during Monday night’s broadcast.
“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,” Reingold said. “I regret that we did not immediately interrupt our broadcast and apologize on the spot.”
Kappell has been the chief meteorologist since October 2017. In a video he posted to Facebook on Monday night, Kappell apologized and called the incident “a simple misunderstanding” and said he spoke too fast and “jumbled a couple of words.”
“If you watch me regularly you know that I contain a lot of information in my weathercast which forces me to speak fast and unfortunately, I spoke a little too fast when I was referencing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” Kappell said. “So fast that I jumbled a couple of words. In my mind I knew that I had mispronounced, but there was no malice, there was nothing I could have... I had no idea the way it had come across to many people. As soon as I mispronounced it I put an emphasis on King and had no idea what people could have interpreted that as and I know some people interpreted that the wrong way.”
Kappell said he was disappointed by his dismissal.
"I am ... extremely disappointed at the decisions made by my television station, who I expected a certain level of support from and I did not receive at all," he said in his Facebook video..