The story of the local meteorologist fired after uttering a racial slur during a Friday broadcast is receiving national attention.
Jeremy Kappell has spent most of the day doing interviews on local radio and for network news. That slur came out while he was saying Martin Luther King Junior Park.
WHEC let him go after they say they conducted an internal investigation. Kappell said he simply jumbled the words and didn’t notice the mistake. Tuesday evening he sat down with Adam Chodak.
Adam Chodak: “After you found out, you saw the video, did you want to apologize?”
Jeremy Kappell: “Yes, I absolutely did and that was my suggestion to our General Manager, that he give me the chance to explain what happened and to give an apology to anybody that may have been offended.”
Adam Chodak: “Some out there are wondering, while you’ve certainly come out and called it a mistake and apologized they’re wondering if you understand the gravity of the word itself, the hurt that it can bring to a lot of people in the community.”
Jeremy Kappell: “Yes, any racial slur, I know there’s intense hurt associated with that, to be honest, I know for a fact that I’ve never used that phrase in my entire life. I just wish I would have known that that was the way it was perceived as I was speaking.”
Adam Chodak: “Where do you go from here?”
Jeremy Kappell: “I don’t know. Those answers will come in time. We didn’t pick this fight, but this is our fight now and it’s not just about what happened between me and the station, but this has happened to a lot of people, this has ruined a lot of lives.”
Adam Chodak: “What has?”
Jeremy Kappell: “This rush to judgment with knowing so little about that person, about something floating around on social media. You don’t know anything outside of basically your own biases, your prejudices, when you’re casting quick judgments like that.”
Kappell’s wife told News 8 they told their two kids both in elementary school about the news right after they heard on Sunday. Kappell said he hasn’t had any job offers just yet.
Hubbard Broadcasting and News10NBC released a statement saying,
The entire team at Hubbard Broadcasting and News10NBC stand behind the decision we made on Sunday afternoon, January 6th, to terminate our contract with meteorologist Jeremy Kappell.
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.
Since our decision to terminate his employment, this station has been caught in the middle of a vitriolic political debate. We believe we have done what is right for our station and our community, and will continue to take a strong stand for our personal and professional values.
We leave the hate-filled back-and-forth to others. News10NBC will focus on its mission to serve the greater Rochester community and move forward accordingly.
– Robert Hubbard, President, Hubbard Television Group
– Richard Reingold, VP and GM, WHEC-TV