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Statement from News10NBC's General Manager

January 07, 2019 09:39 PM

On behalf of News10NBC, I apologize for our broadcast of a racial slur in a reference to Martin Luther King, Jr. Park during our Friday evening broadcast (1/4/19). Upon learning of the incident, News10NBC leadership immediately initiated an internal investigation and internal discussion, and by Sunday had made a staffing change.

As a result of that broadcast, meteorologist Jeremy Kappell is no longer with News10NBC. We believe strongly in holding our reporters and anchors to the highest standard. We are proud of our dedicated newsroom professionals, and expect and require that each respects and understands that their behavior reflects directly on the station for which they work and the community we serve.  

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These words have no place on News10NBC’s air, and the fact that we broadcast them disheartens and disgusts me; that it was not caught immediately is inexcusable. I regret that we did not immediately interrupt our broadcast and apologize on the spot.

Our Friday broadcast does not represent the values of News10NBC, its hardworking staff, or the great people of Rochester. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of America’s greatest heroes – for whom I, and all of us at News10NBC, have the utmost respect. I am terribly sorry to all of our viewers. We are redoubling our efforts to ensure that this never happens again.

Richard A. Reingold
Vice-President and General Manager

Mayor Lovely Warren, Council President Loretta Scott, and the Rochester City Council released the following statement Sunday regarding the incident.

"It is wrong, hurtful and infuriating that WHEC Channel 10 broadcast a racial slur in reference to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during its Friday News broadcast. It is beyond unacceptable that this 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 individual responsible for the slur should no longer be employed at Channel 10. But, there is a larger issue here. An issue that is exemplified by the response of management at Channel 10. It took the station nearly two days to apologize, and only after the station was shamed into doing so by a backlash on social media. This incident, along with the very recent news article containing a racially-charged accusation calling an African-American judge a "Carpetbagger," demonstrates the need for greater cultural sensitivity and competency within the local media.

While referring to African Americans in racially derogatory, insensitive and vulgar language needs to be addressed immediately, there are other issues at play as well that feed into this cultural ignorance. Promotional videos and other productions from local media often do not reflect the diversity of our community.

To address these issues, we invite the local media and their management to join with the City as part of the National League of Cities’ REAL (Race, Equity and Leadership) committee National Day of Racial Healing on Jan. 22 to have an open and honest conversation about how we can move forward."

Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell released the following statement on Monday. 

"In my mind I know I mispronounced but there was no malice. I had no idea the way it came across to so many people. As soon as I mispronounced it I put an emphasis on King and moved on. I had no ideas what some people could have interpreted that as and I know some people interpreted that the wrong way. That's not a word I said and I promise you that. If you did feel it hurt you in any way I sincerely apologize."

WHECTV

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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