TV Presenter Forced To Apologise After Comparing Black Co-Anchor To Gorilla
During a live morning programme on Oklahoma's ABC affiliate station KOCO-TV last Thursday, anchor Alex Housden was presenting a report on gorillas at the local zoo.
She was telling the story of ape caretaker who had taken charge of the social media for Oklahoma City Zoo.
However, when the video segment showed footage of a baby gorilla, she said to her colleague, Jason Hackett, who is black: "Kind of looks like you."
Hackett responded: "He kind of does, actually, yeah."
Obviously, this was a huge mistake. Historically, and even still today, black people have been compared to primates as a form of racism.
The next morning, Housden made a tearful apology to viewers of the show, with Hackett sitting beside her.
She said: "I'm here this morning because I want to apologise, not only to my co-anchor Jason but to our entire community.
"I said something yesterday that was inconsiderate, that was inappropriate, and I hurt people. And I want you to understand how much I hurt you out there [gesturing to viewers] and how much I hurt you [gesturing to Hackett]."
More Like ThisMore Like This
Housden went on to say that Hackett is not only her colleague, but also her friend. She re-iterated to her co-anchor that she 'would never do anything on purpose to hurt you'.
She continued: "I love our community, and I want you all to know from the bottom of my heart: I apologise for what I said. I know it was wrong, and I am so sorry."
Hackett accepted her apology and added that Housden is one of his best friends. However, he told viewers: "What she said yesterday was wrong.
"It cut deep for me, and it cut deep for a lot of you in the community."
He added: "Coming out of this, I want this to be a teachable moment. The lesson here is that words matter.
"We have to understand the stereotypes.
"We have to understand each other's backgrounds and the words that hurt, the words that cut deep. We have to find a way to replace those words with love and words of affirmation, as well."
In a statement to NBC, KOCO-TV said: "The apology by Alex and Jason's acceptance and his comments about the broader issue are the only public comment necessary."
Featured Image Credit: KOCO-TV
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read