TV weatherman fired after uttering racial slur on air


#21

But if he’s said “Martin Luther Coon” many times before, he has muscle memory of doing so.

That is pure speculation, and not a reason to ruin someone’s life. It’s just as likely that he jumbled the words “king” and “junior”. It could happen to you, if you ever misspeak. Good thing you’re not on the news.


#22

Relations between corporate management and newsroom staff is somewhat adversarial to begin with, but it’s usually not that awful. In the case I mentioned above, management discussed the matter with some of the senior producers to get their input on the matter. The guy who slipped up was a little standoffish but generally liked by (and sometimes pitied by) most people in the newsroom, including other on-air talent. He’d been around forever and found his groove with the staff and crew. That lukewarm goodwill within the company probably cut 6 months off his suspension.

Absolutely. I call them the “talent” with no irony whatsoever. But even with the most polished professional screws up on-air; the holiday party gag reel wouldn’t exist without the bloopers.

The question is more one of severity of the screw-up and circumstances. In the case of the incident I was discussing, he was a doddering old guy whose career had started in one era and was about to end in another. He only lasted because he was beloved by the old folks in the audience. So allowances were made even before his colleagues intervened on his behalf.

This looks like a very different case.


#23

I heard about this on the radio. I wanted to believe it was an honest mistake, a misheard stumble. But, uh, that seems like it was clear what it was. And even though one can say they have never uttered those words, I honestly don’t know how it would have stuttered out unless you had.

I mean, I could be wrong, our brain does funny things, but my forced optimism is being overruled by my more pragmatic side.


#24

The hyperbole - it BURNS!

His life isn’t ruined. He wasn’t killed or maimed. He isn’t facing life in prison. He no longer has a cushy job as an on-air meteorologist in a mid-sized market. He may need to find a new job at a smaller or more racist-friendly station, or become an off-air meteorologist.

Millions of people (who didn’t utter racist slurs on TV) were in the same boat after the financial crisis, often facing the double-whammy of losing their jobs and their homes while bankers profited from the bail-out. Most have recovered a semblance of normalcy a decade later.


#25

It is also speculation that this is the only reason he was fired. For all we know there’s a long history of just barely not over the line stuff that he’s been harassing his coworkers with for his full time there.


#26

Yes, I think we can rule out that he said it intentionally because he’s on the news and the obvious result of racial slurs there (in most cases) is being fired/eternal public humiliation.


#27

And people never do anything that is likely to cause them harm?


#28

Then everyone is working under precarious conditions. That’s a lousy place to work and I have sympathy for everyone who works there.


#29

This is also speculation, not evidence. If we had actual evidence or a pattern that the guy is a racist besides some jumbled words he clearly didn’t mean to say on air, then I would agree that he deserves what he got.


#30

I am saying we have all had a slip of the tongue and mashed words which then sound like what we did not mean. If you have never done such a thing then congratulations on your holier/better than everyone else position.


#31

“Slip of the tongue,” my ass.

‘Martin Luther Coon’ was a favored slur that bigots used constantly against MLK during the civil rights movement, right up to his assassination and thereafter.

Racism%20is%20Evil

Shame on him, and shame on anyone trying to defend this flagrantly bigoted slur as an ‘honest gaf’; the only way his tongue slipped is if he’s used to saying it in private and he accidentally did it out of habit.


#32

Or retail - we always need folks in retail! This is pure speculation, but I’m sure @DixonHill doesn’t ask retail workers how their lives were ruined.


#33

This was my point.

Do we usually get to hear all of the evidence when a private company fires somebody?


#34

THIS.

Because like I said we’ve all made a gaffe in speech before, if it were only that in this case while its possible and justifiable to be fired for it…I suspect it is more than one flub.


#35

Really? That’s the only way? The only possible way? There’s no other way? You can’t think of any other way anybody would possibly misspeak?

EDIT: I’ve been rightly yelled at for being too glib with this response. My point is only that I, personally, don’t find it difficult to imagine misspeaking, and that there are a lot of professionals who do it on the air all the time.


#36

One of the reasons he didn’t get a lot of support from his colleagues might be that he also said it in the newsroom. These are very “white” spaces and the banter is often in bad taste, but there are limits and this kind of slur would be one of them. If an on-air person is an arsehole, he can sometimes get away with pushing those limits.


#37

In my personal opinion, yes. I’m not clicking on any of those links, and I’m not interested in engaging you on this topic.

Good day.

Denial%20of%20Racism

That he got fired and not just the usual slap on the wrist that people of privilege get whenever they get caught misbehaving is very telling.


#38

The first one, the only one i opened, was a compilation of news bloopers and, as we all know, all bloopers are the same.
(The second clause is sarcasm in case anybody couldn’t tell.)


#39

Another one:

“In January 2005, KTNV-TV Las Vegas weather forecaster Rob Blair also suffered from the same word jumble while delivering a forecast for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend. Viewers called and emailed at the station to express outrage over Blair’s forecast. At that time, Blair apologized for the comment, saying some people may have thought he had said “Kong instead of King”. However, it was a slurring of the words “King” and “Junior” into “coon” that lead to his demise. At the time, KTNV-TV General Manager Jim Prather wrote, “Blair stumbled while attempting to provide a forecast for Martin Luther King Junior Day and uttered a phrase that viewers found offensive. This kind of incident is not acceptable under any circumstances. I am truly sorry that this event occurred.” Blair was fired.” -Weatherboy

Are weathermen racist? Do green screens fry the brain? Is this a Sinclair Broadcasting* effort?

*No idea if these stations are part of that organization.


#41

Thanks for taking one for the team.

It’s annoying that no matter how flagrant someone’s bigotry is, there always seem people willing to do all sorts of mental contortions in order to excuse it.

It’s disheartening to say the least.