A local Texas television station is under fire for its racist closed captioning remark used to insult Draylen Mason, a Black victim of the Austin bombings.
The 17-year-old’s death was reported Tuesday night by local ABC affiliate KVUE-TV and identified Mason as “this monkey” in the closed captioning, Statesman reported.
KVUE newscasts has since ended all ties with VITAC, a third-party company which provides live captioning to the Texas station. They’re blaming the largest American closed captioning company for the mishap and ceased the contract between the two businesses Thursday.
KVUE released the following statement: “We are taking this mistake very seriously and we are heartsick about this terrible error… We apologize to Draylen’s family and to our community. We have demanded an explanation and an apology to Draylen’s family, and VITAC is complying.”
VITAC also released a statement apologizing for the indiscretion that sparked outrage among viewers. The company said it was an unintentional mistake which was caused by a computer typo.
“The unfortunate error which occurred was neither intentional, nor is it a regular or acceptable occurrence in the delivery of our services… As a group of professionals we at VITAC are resolutely serious in our commitment to provide, accurate essential accessibility services for the Deaf and Hard Of Hearing community and we are embarrassingly disappointed that we failed to do so today,” VITAC stated.
“While we strive for perfection, unfortunately, we did not achieve that today… However although this was not intentional, it is not acceptable and for this we sincerely apologize. The complex algorithms utilized from the technology perspective will, in rare instances, result in an error in delivering a key word, name or phrase either contextually or alphabetically,” the closed captioning company added.
As soon as the racial language aired, KVUE TV pointed viewers to VITAC’s information to report the incident.