Chief Meteorologist Fired After Using Racial Slur in Reference to MLK

During a Friday night broadcast, meteorologist Jeremy Kappell referred to a park in downtown Rochester, N.Y., named after slain civil rights hero Martin Luther King as “Martin Luther Coon Park.”


Initially, Kappell denied that the slur was ever said. But on the broadcast, he is clearly heard “correcting” the term with “King.” He then said it was an accident. Two very different sounding words and one that’s not commonly used unless it’s a slur. But OK. Kappell blamed the “error” on speaking too quickly.

He posted a video on Facebook further explaining what happened.

“Unfortunately, I spoke a little too fast when I was referencing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” he said.

Viewers immediately called for Kappell to be terminated. Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and City Council President Loretta Scott said, in a joint statement: “It was wrong, hurtful and infuriating.”

“It is beyond unacceptable that this has 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.”

The Rochester Association of Black Journalists also issued a statement: “This is completely unacceptable and contrary to all standards of broadcasting. While we are aware that the station has issued an apology, we expect a complete explanation of what happened, who was responsible and why nothing was said immediately after the Friday broadcast. We also want to know what measures will be taken to prevent incidents like this from occurring in the future.”

Kappell was reportedly terminated by the news station. WHEC’s vice president and general manager Richard A. Reingold issued an apology and a statement released Sunday:

“I apologize for our broadcast of a racial slur in a reference to Martin Luther King, Jr. Park during our Friday evening broadcast. The station holds reporters and anchors ‘to the highest standard.’ These words have no place on News 10 NBC’s air, and the fact that we broadcast them disheartens and disgusts me; that it was not caught immediately is inexcusable.”

There are some people who showed their support for Kappell via Twitter.

Kappell is originally from Kentucky. According to his LinkedIn profile, he only recently moved to Rochester in October 2017.

Latest News

Novartis Chief Medical Officer John Tsai on Balancing Medical Innovations With Patient Needs

Originally published at novartis.com by Elizabeth Dougherty. John Tsai is Novartis’ Head of Global Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer. Novartis Pharmaceuticals is a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company.   John Tsai’s career as a physician, and now as Head of Global Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer for Novartis, had an unlikely…

Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed

City of Montgomery, Alabama Faces $25,000 State Fine for Changing Street Named After a Confederate Leader

Despite a state law designed to “protect” longstanding Confederate monuments and memorials, the city of Montgomery, Alabama, has decided that it would rather incur a fine than continue going on with a city street named after President of the Confederate States from 1861 to 1865, Jefferson Davis. Kim Chandler of…

Global Diversity

Despite Massive Uptick in Global DEI Initiatives, New Study Reveals Real Change in Corporate Workforces Remains Slow 

Even though DEI as a business imperative continues to grow both in the United States and around the world, a new study has found that many business leaders and executives have merely raised awareness of why diversity, equity and inclusion is important — as opposed to actually making meaningful progress…

Novartis Collaborates With Microsoft To Innovate Medicine Through Data and Artificial Intelligence

Originally published on LinkedIn. Novartis Pharmaceuticals is a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company.   “We are not just discoverers. We actually create molecules that have never been made before.” Says Karin Briner, Head of Global Discovery Chemistry at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR). By collaborating with Microsoft and augmenting the expertise of our…

Mastercard Announces Launch of Crescent City Card Program in Partnership With New Orleans and MoCaFi

Originally published at mastercard.com. Mastercard ranked No. 5 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell was joined by executives from Mastercard, Mobility Capital Finance, Inc. (MoCaFi), and Forward Together New Orleans to announce the Crescent City Card Program. The program involves a…