New York Weatherman Fired After Using Racial Slur On Air: 'I Spoke Too Fast'

Rochester, New York station WHEC-TV has fired a meteorologist after he used a racial slur during a live broadcast on Friday evening.

Jeremy Kappell called the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Park in Rochester "Martin Luther Coon... King Jr Park" during the broadcast.

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According to CNN, Kappell said "King" after the slur, and then carried on with the show. After facing criticism for his words, the meteorologist claimed to have misspoken. "There was no malice," he said in a statement. "As soon as I mispronounced it I put an emphasis on King and moved on.

"That's not a word I said and I promise you that. If you did feel it hurt you in any way I sincerely apologize."

Kappell said the incident was a "simple misunderstanding" in a Facebook video. "If you watch me regularly you know that I tend to contain a lot of information in my weathercast, 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," he said in the video.

Although some Twitter users supported the meteorologist, others condemned his words. User Isaac wrote: "Stop making excuses. It's referred to as a Freudian slip... Your filter wasn't working good enough... but we see your true colors."

"You know damn well you said Martin Luther 'Coon' King Jr Park. You've said it before but you slipped and said it on air this time. Now that you're fired, you lie to explain it away. We won't let you change the narrative. It's a new day in Rochester," wrote Kenneth B. Morris Jr.

WHEC boss Richard A. Reingold apologized for the incident and said Kappell had been fired after an internal investigation. "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. I regret that we did not immediately interrupt our broadcast and apologize on the spot," he said in a statement.

The incident gained national attention when Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren called for the meteorologist's dismissal. "It is beyond unacceptable that this occurred. There must be real consequences for the news personality involved and also for the management team that failed to immediately apologize and address the slur," read a joint statement from the mayor, Council President Loretta Scott and the Rochester City Council.

The statement criticized the station further, and condemned the gap between the incident and WHEC's official apology. "It took the station nearly two days to apologize, and only after the station was shamed into doing so by a backlash on social media," it read.

The Rochester Association of Black Journalists criticized the meteorologist on Instagram. A statement released on the group's Instagram page said: "The [RABJ] condemns the clearly racist language used to describe Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park…..This is completely unacceptable and contrary to all standards of broadcasting.

"While we are aware the station has issued an apology, we expect a complete explanation of what happened."

Jeremy Kappell, Weatherman, Racist, Rochester, New York
File Photo: Rochester, New York, is pictured. Getty Images