Today Show meteorologist Al Roker, affectionately known as "American's weatherman," has come to the defense of a New York meteorologist who was fired for making an apparent flub which was framed by some as a racist slip of the tongue.
As reported by The Daily Wire on Monday, WHEC Chief Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell was fired from his position promptly after the embattled city mayor, Lovely Warren, called for his termination. During a weather segment on Friday, Kappell fumbled the location he was reporting on and said, "Martin Luther c**n — King, Jr. Park." The error went unnoticed by the station until it was posted online in isolation and picked up by the Democrat mayor.
Refusing to join the outrage mob, Roker said Monday that Kappell made an error — as Roker himself often does — and deserves a second chance.
Roker even took it a step further, outright rejecting the idea that malicious motives should be ascribed to Kappell without evidence.
"The word c**n doesn't even come close to the word Jr. period ,sometimes when you joke about something with friends behind closed doors by saying it ,and you mention that word live it comes out the same way of your thoughts," one Twitter user said in reply to Mr. Roker.
"Perhaps, but do you know that. Unless some friends or acquaintances come forward with that, you can’t make that assumption," responded the meteorologist.
Kappell, who has a wife and two young children, responded to Roker with gratitude soon after the post was made. "Al, thank you very much. Your support means so much to this family," he wrote in a tweet.
WHEC-TV's owner, Hubbard Broadcasting, announced the termination of Kappell in a statement, which accused the Rochester meteorologist of refusing to offer an immediate apology. However, Kappell told WHAM 1180 radio host Bob Lonsberry on Tuesday morning that he was barred from offering any apology or explanation by the general manager while he was still employed.
"During the previous Friday night broadcast, Mr. Kappell clearly voiced a racially derogatory term. An utterance such as this, with no immediate apology, regardless of intent, is unacceptable and inexcusable. There can be no confusion by anyone who works at Hubbard Broadcasting or by anyone in the communities we serve, that this is unacceptable," reads a statement from Hubbard Broadcasting.
In a Facebook video posted Monday, Kappell, alongside his wife, posted a full explanation and apology for any unintentional hurt he might have caused due to his error:
The controversial clip from the Friday broadcast can be listened to, below: