Newscaster Apologies for ON-AIR RACIAL SLUR
A Missouri newscaster apologized Thursday morning after using a racial slur in an on-air mispronunciation of Martin Luther King Jr.’s name earlier in the day.
Kevin Steincross, of the St. Louis-based Fox-affiliated KTVI, was discussing an upcoming tribute to the late civil rights activist when he referred to him as “Martin Luther coon Jr.,” saying a word that’s been used in a racist way against black people.
In his apology just after 9 a.m., Steincross indicated he wasn’t initially aware of what he said.
“We have heard from a viewer about a mistake I made in our 5 a.m. newscast this morning,” he said. “In our story about the tribute to Dr. King, I unfortunately mispronounced his name. Please know I have total respect for Dr. King, what he meant and continues to mean to our country. This was not intentional in any way and I sincerely apologize.”
KTVI says managers spoke with Steincross and believe the phrase was inadvertent and not reflective of his “core beliefs.” Vice President of News Audrey Prywitch says no additional discipline is planned.
The station believes that it was a mistake and doesn’t plan to discipline the newscaster.
“The Fox2 management team spoke to Kevin following the mistake and we believe that it was truly inadvertent and does not reflect Kevin’s core beliefs,” a Tribune Broadcasting spokesperson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in a statement. “Kevin is extremely upset by the mistake and regrets it deeply.”
The unfortunate incident is the second time this month that the slur has been used in an on-air reference to King, whose birthday was Tuesday, which will be celebrated as a federal holiday this Monday.
Upstate New York meteorologist Jeremy Kappell was fired after apparently calling a park named for the slain civil rights leader “Martin Luther Coon King Jr. Park.” Kappell said the phrasing was unintentional. Longtime NBC broadcaster Al Roker, who is black, was among those defending Kappell.
“It’s a simple misunderstanding,” Kappell said in a video posted to Facebook. “If you watch me regularly you know I try to contain a lot of information into my weather forecast, 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 had jumbled a couple of words. Now in my mind, I knew I mispronounced but there was no malice…I had no idea the way it came across to many people.”
Check out our sources: