‘This Fight Chose Me’: Rochester, N.Y. Meteorologist Fired for Apparently Saying Racial Slur During Report Speaks Out

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After the mayor called for his firing, a Rochester, N.Y. meteorologist has been terminated from his position at a local news station after viewers became upset when he uttered a racial slur during a weather report.

Jeremy Kappell, who worked forĀ WHEC, was reporting a story about an ice rink at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park Friday, Jan. 4 when he said, “Martin Luther Coon — King Jr. — Park.”

The report was captured by a viewer on Facebook and went viral, prompting an outpouring of outrage from those watching.

Rochester's WHEC Channel 10 decided to slip a little racist reference to Dr King in close to his birthday. This aired 1/4/19 @ aproximately 5:30 pmListen as the newscaster decides that Martin Luther King should be referred to as Martin Luther Coon King and keeps it moving the other day. I have already asked for an explanation from WHEC about this:Thank you Cristy Barber Peck for identifying and sharing the video.

Posted by Alan Majors on Saturday, January 5, 2019

“So disgusting and sad; on the slight chance it was a fraudien slip it ‘still’ speaks of what he’s really thinking. Please keep us posted on the outcome.”

“This is awful for realšŸ˜”.”

Included in those blasting the utterance is the city’s mayor.

Mayor Lovely Warren, Council President Loretta C. Scott and the Rochester City Council issued a statement over the matter Jan. 6 calling on the NBC station to fire Kappell.

“It is wrong, hurtful and infuriating that WHEC Channel 10 broadcast a racial slur in reference to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during its Friday News broadcast,” the statement read. “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.

jeremy kappell
Mayor Lovely Warren expressed disappointment in how long it took the station to respond to Jeremy Kappell’s remarks. (@LovelyWarrenRoc/Twitter)

“The individual responsible for the slur should no longer be employed at Channel 10. But, there is a larger issue here,” the memo went on. “An issue that is exemplified by the response of management at Channel 10. It took the station nearly two days to apologize, and only after the station was shamed into doing so by a backlash on social media.”

By Monday morning, the station’s vice president and general managerĀ Richard A. Reingold issued a statement confirming that Kappell had been fired following a staffing change Sunday and an immediate investigation.

“We believe strongly in holding our reporters and anchors to the highest standard. We are proud of our dedicated newsroom professionals and expect and require that each respects and understands that their behavior reflects directly on the station for which they work and the community we serve.

“These words have no place on News10NBCā€™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,” Reingold said.

On Twitter Monday morning, Kappell said, “For the record, I’ve never uttered those words in my life.”

jeremy kappell

“Iā€™m my mind I knew I mispronounced but there was no malice nothing that I couldā€™ve ā€¦ I had no idea the way it came across to many people,” Kappell remarked in a Facebook video uploaded Monday evening. “That is not a word I said I promise you that. If you did feel that it hurt you in any way in any way I sincerely apologize. I would never want to tarnish the reputation of a such a great man as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the greatest civic leaders of all time.”

The former NBC affiliate weatherman spoke about what he experienced onĀ Radio 95.1 Jan. 8.

“It was tumultuous, it was one of the worst days in my life,” Kappell, who said his report was “mischaracterized,” explains at around the 2:00 mark after noting he received lots of support by Monday morning.

“Although I didn’t choose this fight, this fight chose me. And now, it’s time for us to run with this,” he added of his plans for taking possible legal action.

He also said he is “extremely disappointed” that the mayor did not reach out to him before she “cast judgment.”

He was fired over an alleged racial slur, former Channel 10 meteorologist Jeremy Kappell joins The Wease Show.

Posted by Radio 95.1 on Tuesday, January 8, 2019

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