Fired weatherman accused of using racial slur says he didn't even know what he said

Meteorologist ...

Posted: Jan 12, 2019 3:48 PM
Updated: Jan 12, 2019 3:48 PM

Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell says he could tell he was fumbling his words on air last week, but like any TV journalist, he said he had to keep going.

The former weatherman for WHEC-TV defended himself on "CNN Tonight" with Don Lemon Thursday night.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Misc people

Weather

Discrimination

Don Lemon

Internet and WWW

Racism and racial discrimination

Social media

Societal issues

Society

Technology

Earth sciences

Meteorology

Science

"It was a mispronunciation and I could tell that I was fumbling the words a little bit. The moment I realized that I was fumbling I immediately put the emphasis on King, not knowing that I had made a major error," Kappell told Lemon. "I did what all of us journalists do. I moved on."

Kappell was fired last Sunday after saying a racial slur on a January 4 broadcast. During the station's Friday night broadcast, Kappell said "Martin Luther Coon Park" when referring to a downtown park named after Martin Luther King Jr. in Rochester, New York.

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

Read statement from News10NBC's General Manager

When asked why it took him time to respond, Kappell said he didn't even know what it was he said.

"Not only did I not hear it, but the other three people that were in the studio at the time with me, my co-anchors, they also did not hear it. The people in the control room, also no one came forward and said they heard it, either," Kappell said.

Lemon backed Kappell in his account and related to his situation.

"I thought that your apology was sincere. That's my opinion. And I don't understand why you were fired. We make mistakes," Lemon said.

And he isn't the only journalist backing Kappell. Longtime weatherman Al Roker, a personality on NBC's "Today" show later defended Kappell. Kappell "made an unfortunate flub and should be given the chance to apologize" on the station, Roker wrote on social media.

"Anyone who has done live tv and screwed up (google any number of ones I've done) understands," Roker wrote on social media.

But even with the support of notable figures in the media, Kappell has been on the defense on social media.

"What happened on Friday, to me, it's a simple misunderstanding. If you watch me regularly you know that I tend to contain a lot of information in my weather cast, which forces me to speak fast and unfortunately I spoke a little too fast when I was referencing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. So fast to the point where I jumbled a couple of words. In my mind I knew I mispronounced, but there was no malice. I had no idea the way it came across to many people," he said in a video posted to Facebook last Monday night.

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

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
58° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 58°
Kokomo
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 54°
Rensselaer
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 55°
Fowler
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 55°
Williamsport
Overcast
58° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 58°
Crawfordsville
Scattered Clouds
60° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 60°
Frankfort
Overcast
60° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 60°
Delphi
Overcast
56° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 56°
Monticello
Overcast
56° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 56°
Logansport
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 55°
Windy and Warmer Weather for Wednesday.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 119066

Reported Deaths: 3612
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21563768
Lake10745324
Elkhart6734112
St. Joseph6679115
Allen6364205
Hamilton4965109
Vanderburgh384231
Hendricks2779124
Monroe267137
Tippecanoe259013
Johnson2362125
Clark226757
Porter222447
Delaware201162
Cass19589
Vigo187928
Madison171475
LaPorte151941
Warrick140743
Floyd140464
Howard133964
Kosciusko127117
Bartholomew119357
Marshall102124
Dubois100919
Boone99746
Grant96636
Hancock94843
Noble92932
Henry82226
Jackson77610
Wayne77314
Morgan73940
Shelby68329
Daviess68129
Dearborn67928
LaGrange64711
Clinton63414
Harrison59824
Putnam59011
Gibson5455
Knox5379
Lawrence51829
Montgomery51321
DeKalb49111
White48814
Decatur46139
Miami4394
Greene42936
Fayette42314
Jasper4032
Steuben3977
Scott39311
Posey3541
Sullivan33812
Jennings31712
Franklin31525
Clay3105
Ripley3108
Orange28724
Whitley2876
Carroll28013
Adams2773
Wabash2758
Starke2737
Washington2702
Wells2694
Spencer2683
Jefferson2523
Huntington2503
Fulton2462
Tipton22922
Randolph2238
Perry22213
Jay1920
Newton17411
Owen1711
Martin1690
Pike1691
Rush1584
Vermillion1320
Fountain1302
Blackford1223
Pulaski1141
Crawford1100
Parke1072
Brown1033
Benton860
Ohio797
Union790
Switzerland690
Warren411
Unassigned0227

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