Bernice King Defends Fired Weatherman Who Used Racial Slur: ‘Martin Luther Coon King’ [WATCH]

by Brianna Moné Williams

January 11, 2019

Photo by Prince Williams/WireImage, @DandC via Twitter

Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell is receiving some mercy for “accidentally” using a racial slur on live television. During the station’s Friday night broadcast, the TV personality said “Martin Luther Coon King Park” when referring to a Rochester, New York park named after the great civil rights activist. Since the screw-up, he has been fired by his station.

In an interview with Don Lemon on CNN Tonight, the former weatherman explained that he knew he made a mistake: “It was a mispronunciation and I could tell that I was fumbling the words a little bit. The moment I realized that I was fumbling I immediately put the emphasis on King, not knowing that I had made a major error. I did what all of us journalists do. I moved on.”

Fortunately for him, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.‘s daughter, Bernice King is coming to his defense. The minister believes that the now-fired anchor deserves a second shot at getting his job back. She told TMZ: “I believe that when these racial slurs occur, that unless there’s a situation where it’s continual that people need an opportunity to be rehabilitated. We don’t focus a lot on rehabilitation in our society today. Part of that is – yes – there have to be some repercussions. I don’t think it should go as far in this particular instance as firing an individual.” Watch the video below:

Lemon and fellow journalist, Al Roker are also backing Kappell up, insisting that messing up on live TV is a part of the industry and that they’ve also made a flub or two. The CNN host admitted to him, “I don’t understand why you were fired. We make mistakes,” while Al took to Twitter to show his support:

Days after the on-air controversy happened, Richard A. Reingold, News10NBC general manager announced that Jeremy no longer worked for the station, that he was “terribly sorry to all of our viewers.” He also added that he regrets the station “did not immediately interrupt our broadcast and apologize on the spot.”

According to Kappell, he claims he didn’t even realize what he had said, or that there was a problem: “Not only did I not hear it, but the other three people that were in the studio at the time with me, my co-anchors, they also did not hear it. The people in the control room, also no one came forward and said they heard it, either.”

On his professional Facebook page, along with his wife, the forecaster apologized for what he said during the broadcast and labeled it as a “simple mistake.” He went on to say: “If you watch me regularly you know that I contain a lot of information in my weather forecasts, which forces me to speak fast. Unfortunately, I spoke a little too fast when I was referencing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

This isn’t the first time a public figure has made a racial slur on television. In 2017, Bill Maher made some offensive comments during his HBO show, Real Time with Bill Maher.

TELL US: Do you think he made an honest mistake?

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