An Oklahoma City anchor apologized in an emotional live TV segment Tuesday after she compared her black co-anchor to a gorilla last week.
“I said something yesterday that was inconsiderate, it was inappropriate, and I hurt people,” KOCO morning anchor Alex Housden said, audibly getting choked up while sitting next to colleague James Hackett. “I love our community, and I want you all to know, from the bottom of my heart, I apologize for what I said. I know it was wrong.”
Hackett said he accepted Housden’s apology, adding that the comment “cut deep” for him and members of the community.
“I want this to be a teachable moment, and the lesson here is that words matter,” he said. “What we need to do is use those words not to hurt and not to divide, but to build a more perfect union.”
Housden’s apology came after she and Hackett reported on a story last week about a gorilla at the Oklahoma City Zoo. Near the end of the segment, Housden said to Hackett: “Kind of looks like you.”
“Yeah, it kind of does, actually,” Hackett replied.
The clip prompted backlash from community members and social media users, some of whom took to Housden’s Facebook page to slam her for her remarks and call for her firing.
“As an African American male your comments about your co anchor were disheartening,” one user wrote.
Another commented: “ I’m shocked by your on air racism and disrespect for your co worker and all African-American peoples. Shame on you! Shame on your bosses. Shame.”