Al Roker defends the meteorologist who was fired for a racist slur

The meteorologist fired over the use of a racial slur on air just got a big defender -- high-profile weather...

Posted: Jan 9, 2019 11:25 PM
Updated: Jan 9, 2019 11:25 PM

The meteorologist fired over the use of a racial slur on air just got a big defender -- high-profile weatherman Al Roker.

Roker, a longtime personality on NBC's "Today" show, defended former WHEC-TV meteorologist Jeremy Kappell after he was fired for saying "Martin Luther Coon Park" when referring to a park named after Martin Luther King Jr. in Rochester, New York.

Al Roker

Celebrities

Discrimination

Earth sciences

Meteorology

Racism and racial discrimination

Science

Societal issues

Society

Weather

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Misc people

In a video viewed by CNN, Kappell says "King" immediately after using the slur and continues with the broadcast.

"I think @JeremyKappell made an unfortunate flub and should be given the chance to apologize on @news10nbc Anyone who has done live tv and screwed up (google any number of ones I've done) understands," Roker tweeted Wednesday.

Viewers of Kappell's Friday night broadcast from were split on whether they think he intentionally or accidentally used the slur.

Kappell has repeatedly said it was an accident -- the result of speaking too quickly and jumbling sounds in a name.

On Wednesday, Kappell publicly thanked Roker for coming to his defense.

"Al, thank you very much," Kappell tweeted. "Your support means so much to this family."

This isn't the first time Roker has made comments about fellow members of the media under fire for perceived racism.

Last year, then-NBC talk show host Megyn Kelly defended the use of blackface in Halloween costumes. She later apologized, but Roker said "she owes a bigger apology to folks of color across the country."

In defending Kappell, Roker said slips of the tongue are easy mistakes to make in live news.

Critics of Kappell said the slur is probably in his regular vocabulary for it to have come out so naturally.

"wowww that video. he definitely says that all the time, which is why it slipped out on air," said Twitter user @notmuchelse.

But Kappell's supporters noted how easy it is to jumble the long "o" sound in "Luther" with the "k" sound in "King," or the sounds in "King" and "Junior" when speaking quickly.

"Say 'King' and 'Junior' 5 times fast and tell me what happens," responded another Twitter user, @JaredG_13_.

More than 33,000 people have signed a petition supporting Kappell, saying he was fired unfairly without being given a chance to explain or apologize.

"We want Jeremy Kappell back on the air," the petition reads.

In response to a critic who said the on-air remark was "racist and willful," Kappell responded:

"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?!?! #Ridiculous #Hateful #Judgemental and #youdontknowthefirsthingaboutme!"

West Lafayette
Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 53°
Kokomo
Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 54°
Rensselaer
Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 54°
Fowler
Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 54°
Williamsport
Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 54°
Crawfordsville
Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 54°
Frankfort
Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 54°
Delphi
Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 53°
Monticello
Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 53°
Logansport
Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 52°
Rain is likely for most of the day with cooler and windy conditions
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 937221

Reported Deaths: 15239
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1276111977
Lake631621093
Allen53394752
Hamilton43720447
St. Joseph41805587
Elkhart33451489
Vanderburgh30262444
Tippecanoe26779249
Johnson23524417
Hendricks22143341
Porter21620345
Clark17363227
Madison17280382
Vigo16046276
Monroe14422191
LaPorte14263239
Delaware14014220
Howard13802272
Kosciusko11345135
Hancock10785163
Warrick10641176
Bartholomew10510167
Floyd10398204
Wayne9897222
Grant9068204
Morgan8833159
Boone8368110
Dubois7696123
Dearborn758489
Henry7563130
Noble7380101
Marshall7326128
Cass7160117
Lawrence6940153
Shelby6543110
Jackson653185
Gibson6124106
Harrison602885
Huntington597394
Montgomery5767105
DeKalb570791
Knox5417104
Miami539087
Putnam534067
Clinton532465
Whitley522652
Steuben495068
Wabash481592
Jasper477361
Jefferson466991
Ripley451975
Adams442566
Daviess4120108
Scott403964
White389457
Clay388456
Greene386890
Decatur383996
Wells383083
Fayette373178
Posey359041
Jennings351356
Washington330647
LaGrange319575
Spencer316635
Fountain313654
Randolph310688
Sullivan304847
Owen282761
Starke278562
Orange275059
Fulton274653
Jay253536
Perry250852
Carroll243128
Franklin237038
Vermillion231950
Rush231730
Parke218320
Tipton208955
Pike205639
Blackford167934
Pulaski162251
Crawford145418
Newton142745
Benton141916
Brown134646
Martin128016
Switzerland125210
Warren114216
Union95811
Ohio78511
Unassigned0474

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events