LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - An innocent mistake or an intended slur?
A former Louisville Meteorologist has taken to the airwaves and social media to defend himself after being fired.
Jeremy Kappell is a familiar face in the metro. Wednesday morning, he became familiar to a national audience as his controversial plight was featured on NBC’s Today Show. He also spoke to WAVE 3 News and said he lost his job for what he said was a simple flub not a racial slur.
“You know, it’s been another world for sure,” Kappell said. “Sunday arguably may be the worst day I’ve ever had in my life thus far.”
Sunday was the day Kappell was accused of something he said is false and said it’s about as bad as it gets when something you are accused of is making a racial slur.
“To make matters worse they put a gag order on me," he said of his former station. "I could not speak, I could not speak up until after they decided what they were going to do.”
What WHEC in Rochester New York did was fire him for what came out during his forecast. Taking viewers to weather video Kappell said he stumbled, “This is the way it looked out at Martin Luther coon..King Park.”
Kappell said he didn’t even realize at first what had happened. But over the weekend some viewers and the Rochester Mayor thought it sounded like a racial slur after a viewer posted it to social media.
Kappell spoke out after he was fired, saying he was trying to pronounce Dr. Martin Luther King Junior, something he’s done without problem countless times, when he mixed up words by talking too fast.
He told another Rochester station after being fired, “If I offended anybody, unintentionally, I am so sorry.”
Then Kappell and his wife took to Facebook and his firing exploded on social media and to national media outlets like NBC’s Today Show. Longtime Today Show Weatherman Al Roker responded to the incident on Twitter Wednesday, referring to it as “an unfortunate flub,” Roker added “anyone who’s done live TV and screwed up understands.”
“Jeremy is one of the finest people I’ve ever met," Jack Horton of Louisville’s Presenter’s Studio said.
Kappell is among many broadcasters who have worked with the Louisville professional voice coach. Horton told WAVE 3 News Kappell was always worried about how he came across to his audience, and like many broadcasters, spoke too fast. He said he believes it was a case of mangling words.
“I’m so sorry that such a good man has gotten into this inadvertent situation," Horton said.
We asked Kappell if he has consulted a lawyer and if he’s considering a lawsuit.
“Although I can’t really speak to that, I’ll say all options are on the table.” Kappell said.
Kappell added that what he is sure of is his faith and his family. He’s also thankful for all the support from Louisville.
Kappell previously worked at WDRB and WHAS Television.