Things got awkward during a morning show segment on Oklahoma City's KOCO-TV Thursday as co-hosts Alex Housden and Jason Hackett chatted about a gorilla at the Oklahoma City Zoo. "Kind of looks like you," Housden said jokingly to Hackett at the end of the segment. "He kind of does, actually, yeah," Hackett replied in a tone USA Today describes as "hesitant." He laughed, too, notes Jay Connor at The Root: "The kind of laughter that black folks in white spaces know all too well. The kind of laughter that dissuades our rage and prevents us from going to jail. The kind of laughter that doubles as a prayer to the Lord for strength and forgiveness because you still have kids to feed. The kind of laughter that Housden didn’t deserve, but received anyway because America wouldn’t have it any other way." But outcry against Housden did ensue, particularly on Facebook where the clip was posted, and the next day, she issued an emotional apology.
"I said something yesterday that was inconsiderate, it was inappropriate, and I hurt people," she said on the show, offering her apologies not just to Hackett but to the entire community. Hackett, who described Housden as a close friend, accepted her apology. "The lesson here is that words matter," he said. "We have to understand the stereotypes, we have to understand each other’s backgrounds and the words that hurt, the words that cut deep. And we have to find a way to replace those words with love and words of affirmation." As Connor notes, however, many on Twitter were upset that Housden was allowed to keep her job. Some were calling for people to dial the station and demand she be fired. (Read more racist remark stories.)