A television news meteorologist who lost his job for saying what sounds like a racial slur on the air said he has “never uttered those words” and suggested that he misspoke.
WHEC (NBC) in Rochester fired Jeremy Kappell after Friday’s newscast in which he appears to refer to a park named for Martin Luther King Jr. as “Martin Luther Coon King Jr. Park.”
In a written statement, station general manager Richard Reingold apologized to viewers and confirmed that Kappell is no longer at the station.
“We believe strongly in holding our reporters and anchors to the highest standard,” Reingold wrote in the statement. “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.”
But Kappell tweeted Monday that “this isn’t about race” and “I’ve never uttered those words in my life.” He also retweeted several people who suggested that he got tongue-tied, stumbled over the name, and accidentally combined the words “King” and “Junior.”
In response to a tweet accusing him of racism, Kappell wrote: “You are out of your mind to think I would jeopardize future of my family and career to insert a racial slur against the GREATEST civil rights leader of all time?!?!”