Former Rochester weatherman files lawsuit against WHEC over firing

Local News

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — Former WHEC weatherman Jeremy Kappell has filed a lawsuit against Channel 10 over his dismissal earlier this year.

Kappell’s firing in January came after an apparent on-air slip-up where Kappell uttered a racial slur while trying to reference “Martin Luther King Jr. Park” during a live broadcast. The mistake was recorded and posted online by a viewer who felt Kappell had used the slur on purpose.

Two days after the video was posted, and created some outrage among some viewers, Kappell was fired after a meeting with management. Kappell’s firing made headlines in Rochester and across the nation as people argued whether the firing was justified or not.

Most notably, NBC weatherman Al Roker came to Kappell’s defense saying he deserved a second chance after the “unfortunate flub.”

In the lawsuit, Kappell’s attorneys say the weatherman suffered from a “linguistic error” that wasn’t noticed by anyone at WHEC until two days after the show. When it was noticed, Kappell says he had only one meeting before he was fired.

In the lawsuit, Kappell’s attorneys claim WHEC failed to properly investigate the incident and fired the weatherman unjustly. Kappell’s team also claims that a statement released by WHEC general manager Richard Reingold implied he had purposely used the slur.

The suit names WHEC-TV, Reingold, and WHEC’s parent company Hubbard Broadcasting.

Kappell is seeking damages to be determined by a jury.

In a statement, WHEC said: “We are disappointed that Mr. Kappell has taken this step, and are prepared to defend our decision to the fullest. Because this matter is now in the courts, we will have no further comment.”

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