A meteorologist at a television station in New York has been dismissed after appearing to use a racial slur during a broadcast.
WHEC chief meteorologist Jeremy Kappell described a Rochester, N.Y., park named after civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. as "Martin Luther Coon" Park on a Friday evening broadcast, according to reports. Kappell has said that he spoke "too fast" and the word was said by mistake.
The use of the word caused a backlash on social media and in the community, leading WHEC's vice president and general manager, Richard A. Reingold, to announce on Sunday that Kappell had been fired.
"As a result of that broadcast, meteorologist Jeremy Kappell is no longer with News10NBC," Reingold said in a statement posted on the station's website. "We believe strongly in holding our reporters and anchors to the highest standard."
In a video posted to Facebook on Monday, Kappell said that he misspoke and did not intend to use the racial slur.
"What happened on Friday, to me, it's a simple misunderstanding," Kappell said in the video post. "If you watch me regularly, you know that I tend to contain a lot of information in my weathercast, which forces me to speak fast and, unfortunately, I spoke a little too fast when I was referencing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. So fast to the point where I jumbled a couple of words.
"In my mind, I knew I mispronounced, but there was no malice. I had no idea the way it came across to many people."
"I had no idea what some people could have interpreted that as and I know some people did interpret that the wrong way," he continued. "That was not a word I said, I promise you that. If you did feel that it hurt you in any way, I sincerely apologize."
The use of the word caused an uproar in the Rochester community over the weekend. CNN reported that Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren (D) and the city council released a statement on the matter, saying it was "beyond unacceptable" that the slur was used.
The Rochester Association of Black Journalists also released a statement calling for a "complete explanation" on what happened, according to NBC News.
Reingold said in a broadcast that those statements had no effect on the station's decision to part ways with Kappell, according to CNN.