Jeremy Kappell might have lost a job, but he has gained a high-profile supporter.
Kappell, the Rochester, New York, meteorologist who was fired after being accused of uttering an on-air racial slur, was defended Wednesday by “Today” co-host Al Roker, who said that Kappell merely made an “unfortunate flub.”
“I think @JeremyKappell made an unfortunate flub and should be given the chance to apologize on @news10nbc,” Roker tweeted.
“Anyone who has done live tv and screwed up (google any number of ones I’ve done) understands,” Roker, the weather anchor for the NBC morning show, added.
In a message Monday, WHEC News10NBC general manager Richard A. Reingold accused Kappell of using a racial slur, saying that the station’s broadcast of the word “disheartens and disgusts me,” and “that it was not caught immediately is inexcusable. I regret that we did not immediately interrupt our broadcast and apologize on the spot.”
Rochester station WHAM reported that during Friday’s broadcast, Kappell “showed a photograph of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Square Park in downtown Rochester. While describing the photo, Kappell referred to the park as ‘Dr. Luther C-n King Jr. Park.'”
“As a result of that broadcast, meteorologist Jeremy Kappell is no longer with News10NBC,” Reingold said in a statement. “Our Friday broadcast does not represent the values of News10NBC, its hardworking staff, or the great people of Rochester. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of America’s greatest heroes – for whom I, and all of us at News10NBC, have the utmost respect. I am terribly sorry to all of our viewers. We are redoubling our efforts to ensure that this never happens again.”
In a tweet on Monday, 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?!?!”
In subsequent tweets, Kappell characterized the moment as a “verbal slip,” a “flub” and “unintentional bubbling,” characterizations that Kappell reiterated in an interview with “Today.”
Kappell told “Today” that he inadvertently combined the words “king” and “junior.”
“Two words mashed together incorrectly. What I said wasn’t even a word, it was a sound — people, I believe, read into that,” Kappell said.
Read Roker’s defense of Kappell below.
– Al Roker (@alroker) January 9, 2019