The Rochester, NY, meteorologist fired after what same say was a verbal blunder and others heard as a racist slur has a supporter in Al Roker.
“Anyone who has done live tv and screwed up (google any number of ones I’ve done) understands,” Today‘s Roker tweeted in defense of Jeremy Kappell, the upstate New York meteorologist canned Sunday by NBC affiliate WHEC-TV.
During a weather report last Friday, Kappell said “Martin Luther Coon Park” on-air when referring to the city’s park named after Martin Luther King Jr.
Kappell immediately corrected himself on-air.
The moment was shared widely on social media, dividing viewers between those who called it a mere flub and those who said it was either intentional or an indication of Kappell’s off-camera word choices.
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Kappell, in subsequent interviews and on his Facebook page, vehemently denied his words were anything other than the result of speaking too fast. A Change.org petition supporting Kappell had more than 36,000 signers within days.
Kappell’s highest-profile supporter weighed in this morning, and Today featured both the video clip and an interview with Kappell in a segment on the incident (the local affiliate doubled-down on its decision). Roker, certainly the country’s most famous meteorologist, tweeted today, “I think @JeremyKappell made an unfortunate flub and should be given the chance to apologize on @news10nbc Anyone who has done live tv and screwed up (google any number of ones I’ve done) understands.”
When a Roker follower insisted that the epithet “doesn’t even come close” to the word “Junior” and might reflect Kappell’s inner thoughts or an in-joke with friends, Roker pushed back: “Perhaps, but do you know that. Unless some friends or acquaintances come forward with that, you can’t make that assumption.”
Kappell himself tweeted his thanks to Roker and Today “for helping get my story out.”
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