MLK's Daughter Weighs In on Fired Meteorologist

Bernice King doesn't think Jeremy Kappell should've been fired for on-air racial slur
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2019 6:10 PM CST
Bernice King addresses a crowd on Apr. 9, 2018, in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

(Newser) – First Al Roker came to Jeremy Kappell's defense. Now the meteorologist who was fired for saying a racial slur on air has another big name standing up for him, the AP reports: Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter. Bernice King told TMZ Thursday she doesn't think the former WHEC weatherman, who referred to a park in Rochester, NY, as "Martin Luther Coon King Jr. Park," should have been canned for what he insists was a stumbling over his words. Instead, she says, Kappell should apologize and then have a chance to learn from the experience, unlearn any deep-rooted beliefs, thoughts, or habits, and perhaps get a second chance. "I believe that, when these racial slurs occur, unless there's a situation where it's continual, that people need an opportunity to be rehabilitated," King says. "And we don't focus a lot on rehabilitation in our society."

To King, there should be consequences, but to her, a more effective route could include a demotion and/or implicit-bias training. "A broad sweep every time someone says a racial slur, let's just fire them, all we're doing is moving people around on the board, because they'll leave there, go to another place, and potentially do the same exact thing," she notes. Kappell, meanwhile, appeared in a Facebook video with his wife to thank their friends, neighbors, and church, as well as strangers on social media, for support. Kappell reiterated that the slur was a "simple misunderstanding" that came about from him speaking too fast. "There was no malice," he said. He added he was "extremely disappointed" with his ex-employer, which he said he expected a "certain level of support from." As for King's remarks, Kappell wrote they were "humbling." (Read more racial slurs stories.)

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