Black Oklahoma TV Anchor Accepts Apology After On-Air Gorilla Comparison: 'Words Matter'

A white TV anchor in Oklahoma City offered a tearful apology after remarking on-air last week that the African-American co-anchor sitting next to her looked like a gorilla at the zoo.

KOCO-TV anchor Jason Hackett accepted the apology of coworker Alex Housden just one day after she made the quip about a gorilla at the Oklahoma City Zoo bearing a resemblance to him. Irate social media messages called out the local Oklahoma station for not taking action against Housden after the comment which was widely derided as racist, but Hackett labeled it a "teachable moment" in which "words matter" following her tearful on-air apology the next day.

"And check out this cute video the OKC Zoo just posted," Hackett said Thursday, introducing the segment and gorilla video clip.

"Okay, you have to see this, this is Finn," Housden continued in the segment about the zoo's western lowland gorilla who was born in June. "Oh my goodness take a look at him, he's a resident of the Oklahoma City Zoo and this week the zoo's ape caretaker took over their Instagram and we are all loving that they did. As you can see, Finn was fascinated by the camera."

"He kind of looks like you when you take a picture," Housden added as they cut away.

"He kind of does, actually, very close to the camera," Hackett can be heard replying after a brief pause.

In response the next day, Housden's apology was accepted by Hackett, who she described as one of her best friends both on and off-camera.

"I said something yesterday that was inconsiderate, it was inappropriate, and I hurt people," she said. "I want you to know I understand how much I hurt you out there and how much I hurt [Hackett]. I want you all to know from the bottom of my heart. I apologize for what I said. I know it was wrong, and I am so sorry."

Housden said that she would "never do anything on purpose to hurt" her co-worker and friend, who acknowledged that her comment was hurtful to him.

Hackett replied: "What she said yesterday was wrong. It cut deep for me, and it cut deep for a lot of you in the community. We're becoming a more diverse country, and there's no excuse. We have to understand the stereotypes. We have to understand each other's backgrounds and the words that hurt, the words that cut deep. We have to find a way to replace those words with love and words of affirmation as well."

koco gorilla tv anchor apology
An Oklahoma City TV anchor offered a tearful apology to her co-anchor she compared to a gorilla on-air. Screenshot: KOCO-TV | Screenshot