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
Overcast
31° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 31°
Kokomo
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 24°
Rensselaer
Overcast
32° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 32°
Fowler
Overcast
32° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 32°
Williamsport
Overcast
31° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 31°
Crawfordsville
Broken Clouds
31° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 31°
Frankfort
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 28°
Delphi
Overcast
35° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 35°
Monticello
Overcast
35° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 35°
Logansport
Overcast
32° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 32°
Tranquil pattern continues...
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 367329

Reported Deaths: 6122
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion49899902
Lake31027490
Allen21054342
St. Joseph19435249
Elkhart19020249
Hamilton15894184
Vanderburgh11174138
Tippecanoe1041036
Porter951297
Johnson7969178
Hendricks7565165
Vigo6855108
Monroe613955
Madison5960126
Clark585487
Delaware5659108
LaPorte5377106
Kosciusko521449
Howard430580
Bartholomew391566
Warrick372776
Wayne370296
Floyd367080
Marshall347252
Grant334554
Hancock330465
Cass330032
Noble298150
Boone289756
Henry287541
Dubois284834
Jackson271838
Morgan267446
Dearborn258833
Gibson226533
Shelby223562
Knox217524
DeKalb215738
Clinton212725
Lawrence210152
Wabash201825
Miami197318
Adams195924
Daviess179951
Montgomery178029
Jasper174317
Steuben172316
Ripley171325
Harrison169726
Fayette167939
Whitley166117
LaGrange162534
Huntington158212
White156224
Putnam152231
Decatur149646
Wells147136
Randolph145725
Clay143126
Jefferson141119
Posey138422
Scott134027
Greene123654
Jay118817
Sullivan116018
Jennings109617
Starke107628
Fountain9988
Fulton99219
Spencer9918
Washington9169
Perry90321
Carroll83913
Franklin81628
Orange80128
Vermillion77013
Parke7496
Owen74411
Tipton68927
Blackford67317
Rush6688
Newton64015
Pike61021
Pulaski51721
Benton4653
Brown4346
Martin4136
Crawford3722
Union3122
Warren3013
Switzerland2825
Ohio2547
Unassigned0290

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