Weatherman fired for uttering a racial slur on air

A TV weatherman in Rochester, NY was fired on Sunday for uttering a racial slur on live TV last Friday:

Here’s a low-quality cell-phone video of the incident:

It’s pretty subtle. To my ear it doesn’t even sound like the “oo” of “coon,” it sounds more the “oo” of “book.” IOW, it’s consistent with him tripping over his own tongue (comingling “King” and “Junior”), rather than deliberately and maliciously sneaking in a racial slur. According to the station, they didn’t even notice it until it was brought to their attention two days later, which is why it took that long to take action. That action was to heed the calls from activists for “real consequences for the news personality involved.” In other words, destroy his career.

A video posted by Kappell (the weatherman) in response to it all:

ISTM he’s been crucified for no good reason. There are plenty of actual racist assholes out there, but it sure doesn’t seem to me like this weatherman is one of them.

It’s clear to my ears that he said “Martin Luther coon”

I remember that one from back in the day, along with “Martin Lucifer Coon”.

It’s just a slip of the tongue that’s easy to do when you mix up King and Junior and it’s also not the first time it’s happened to a news anchor. Sucks for him I guess, we should give people the benefit of the doubt if there is no further evidence to believe it was said on purpose.

I heard “Martin Luther Kun—King Junior.”

I.e. We couldn’t have heard the spelling, of course, but what I heard sure sounded to me like he got his tangue toungled and mashed up “King” and “Junior,” and immediately corrected himself.

And to the two people quoted near the end of the OP’s linked article saying “That was not a mistake”: How the hell do you know that?

It could have been a genuine mistake. He was speaking quickly because they only allocate a few minutes for the weather.

Imho a profuse apology should have been sufficient.

Unless there’s solid evidence the weather guy has used that slur off camera.

Seems like an honest slip of the tongue to me. I’ve had this problem before where my mind will combine two words into one because of *thinking *of two things simultaneously - “bad” and “beer” might become “beed”, or “cook” and “back” might become “cak,” if speaking under stress or without ability to think beforehand about what to say.

Maybe they know him and what kind of person he is.

This sort of thing strikes me as being akin to calling someone racist because they mispronounce Obama as Osama. (which is something that Jennifer Lawrence, an Obama supporter herself, once did by mistake on TV.)

:dubious: One of them is a person from Florida. The other is from some sort of grassroots activist organization twitter account, which is local. The meteorologist has only been there since October '17.

Could have been a slip of the tongue. I have slipped the wrong word in on occasion. Unless the guy has a history, I would let it slide.

Mount Saint Molehill. :rolleyes: Poor guy.

There is a newscaster in Reno that garbles her words so bad and so often, I would swear she is having a stroke, live on the air. Can we get her fired?

So is the theory that he was trying to get fired? That’s the only possible way it would make sense for it to have been intentional.

Makes me think of the time some politician called Barney Frank “Barney Fag” on-camera. That one wasn’t a tangling of the tounge, but accidentally saying what he normally said when the cameras were off. (Never mind the gay mountain climber.)

I don’t know the background but people whose job it is to talk make stumbles all the time and the results are usually random garbled sounds or words. This was a random garbled word that sounded like “coon”. No reason to fire him but it might have warranted an apology.

See also BEANER appearing in the NY Times crossword recently.

The question is not whether he intentionally called him Martin Luther Coon. It’s whether he slipped up on the word, or accidentally let slip a word he uses in private.

My take is that there is not enough info from the clip to make that determination. What would be useful is looking at other bits of his history. If there is nothing, this would just be something to note in case he winds up doing something bad later.

However, I’m not going to jump on the bandwagon of assuming that there is no more information. And I’m not going to automatically condemn those who want a zero-tolerance policy. I need info on how often this sort of thing happens.

But, for me, it seems like an overreaction, given the info we currently have.

I’ll also point out I here koong, not koon. N and NG are two different consonant sounds. There is no N sound before you say the NG sound. But I’m not sure if that means anything.

I heard Martin Luther Coon, too, but it very well could have been an innocent mistake and he deserved the benefit of the doubt. Geesh, this country has gone bananas these days.

People who are paid to be understood may be fired when they screw up their speech. I wouldn’t worry about this guy. I’m sure he’ll land somewhere else. I’m also totally convinced that it was unintentional and that he’s really sorry.

Note that I think we as a society are somehow being primed to be angry and to take all possible offense at everything. I have no idea who this priming would benefit, but it feels like it’s happening.

I hear “yanny.”