A TV meteorologist has been given the boot over an apparent racial slur used on air. Jeremy Kappell, former chief meteorologist at Rochester, New York's WHEC, can be heard in video posted to social media as seeming to refer to a local park as "Martin Luther Coon King Jr. Park" during Friday's broadcast, the AP reports. Critics including the local mayor called for Kappell to be fired, but Kappell himself insists he's "never uttered those words in my life" and both he and his defenders say he simply stumbled over his words, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reports. In a statement posted Monday, WHEC's VP and general manager apologized for airing the slur, saying it "disheartens and disgusts me" that the blunder "was not caught immediately."
Fox News notes that Kappell has not yet made a formal statement, but has been tweeting about the incident quite a bit, calling it a "flub" and comparing it to a similar situation in which an ESPN radio host made a similar mistake. Responding to one critic, 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?!?! #Ridiculous #Hateful #Judgemental and #youdontknowthefirsthingaboutme!" But the Rochester Association of Black Journalists says in a statement the words broadcast are "completely unacceptable and contrary to all standards of broadcasting." (A black police officer was recently suspended for using the n-word.)