A black news anchor was compared to a gorilla live on-air – he’s calling it a ‘teachable moment’ that ‘words matter’.
Alex Housden, a white TV anchor for KOCO 5 News, ended a segment about a gorilla at the Oklahoma City Zoo by saying to her co-anchor Jason Hackett, ‘Kinda looks like you.’
While Hackett initially responded with: ‘He kind of does, actually, yeah,’ the backlash was immediately brewing online.
Have a look at the clip below:
When Alex Housden KOCO thinks her co anchor Jason Hackett KOCO resembles an animal…
Posted by Joy Shana on Thursday, August 22, 2019
People commenting and sharing the video online called Housden’s comments ‘disrespectful’ and ‘flat-out appalling’.
One Facebook user wrote on Housden’s page: ‘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.’
The next day, Housden made a very tearful on-air apology to Hackett, saying she was ‘inconsiderate’ and ‘inappropriate’.
Housden said on-air on KOCO 5 News:
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, it was inappropriate, and I hurt people.
I want you to know I understand how much I hurt you out there and how much I hurt [Hackett]. I want you all to know from the bottom of my heart I apologize for what I said… I know it was wrong, and I am so sorry.
Hackett then said he accepted and appreciated Housden’s apology, explaining they are friends outside of the job and talk almost every other day.
However the anchor added that Housden’s words were wrong and ‘it cut deep for me, and it cut deep for a lot of you in the community.’
Coming out of this, I want this to be a teachable moment. The lesson here is that words matter, there’s no doubt about that.
We’re becoming a more diverse country, and there’s no excuse. 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.
‘Much like a plumber would use a wrench, or a doctor would use a scalpel,’ Hackett added that words are tools that should be used to build a stronger union; not to hurt, nor divide.
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.