TV weatherman fired after uttering racial slur on air


#63

This isn’t a partisan issue for me; bigots and those who enable them exist on both sides of the political divide, and they all pose an indirect but existential threat to the safety and well being of POC. This is a matter of not tolerating antisocial behavior and calling out even latent and passive bigotry when it rears its’ ugly head.

Elsewhere, someone made a good point that had the weatherman in question been a person of color who made “a gaff” which sounded suspiciously like a racial slur against White folks, there would likely not be nearly as many people bending over backwards to marginalize or justify it.


#64

Sounded like slip of the tongue to me too. I think in going for “King Junior”, he sort of hybridized them, fronting King’s "K’ to the “un” (oon) from “Junior”. Sort of caught himself going for “Kunior” – cut it short – and it unfortunately came out the way it did.


#65

The only tangible fact we have is what he said. On TV. We are indeed speculating on whether it was intentional or not, and whether the firing was fair or not, with imperfect information. We are spectators, with no authority to act on the outcome in either direction.

However, there is a distinction between professional mistakes. A single slip-up during a meeting or conversation for most people is an error they can recover from and make amends for. I have certainly done so, and immediately apologized for the offense given.That is different from mistakes that are smack in the middle of the responsibilities one has as a professional. One mistake in the core responsibilities of a professional can (and often should) be either career ending or close to it. A drunk airline pilot, a sleeping guard, an embezzling accountant: any one incident along those lines is enough to warrant significant repercussions. In this case, the guy is paid to say words on camera that are broadcast to the community. He messed up those words in a way (intentional or not) that was offensive to a major portion of said community. He’s done, and that’s a reasonable result.


#67

With all due respect, that is irrelevant. I am taking issue with the assertion that losing one’s ability to work in a niche career results in one’s life being ruined. An enormous number of people have worked in multiple, unrelated fields in the course their lifetime. Some people have flourished after being forced into another career.


#68

That’s my take on this incident. Same problem as experienced by openly racist Republican NC House primary winner Russell Walker. Also, this idiot.


#69

We reached peak “one’s life being ruined” in the Kavanaugh hearings where people were literally saying that not getting a seat on the supreme court and instead being relegated to the DC circuit was akin to having your life ruined. I would really like to have my life ruined in that way.

Thanks, I found this absent from the conversation. Sometimes if you make a really big mistake you lose your job. If you forget to lock the door on the way out on evening, your job as a retail manager might be over. If you install the wrong part and fry the electronics in someone’s car, your job as a mechanic might be over. No internet hordes will show up to defend your honest mistake.

People get hostile when I tell I don’t tip my waiter less for making an mistake with their order (I actually tip more).

But if your honest mistake was high-flying racism or misogyny, a lot of people have your back.


#70

As far as i’ve seen the “internet mob” here on the Boing is simply discussing the case. Nothing that happens here is likely to change his future at all.


#71

That’s a fairish point. Maybe it doesn’t matter whether it was intentional or not for the purpose of whether he was fired from this job. And maybe with the ever shortening half-life of internet mobs this single incident won’t affect his ability to do something else within his experience or expertise (which, if this was unintentional, we should want).

This is the thing that’s going to come up when any future employer googles his name, though–most likely accompanied by all the related commentary calling him a racist. That’s a condemnation that has a much broader reach than just this one job. Maybe the response to that is if he didn’t want to take that risk he shouldn’t have been pointing at weather maps on TV, but it seems pretty unrealistic to me to impose that kind of tiny tolerance for error on this part of a job that in its other parts has a pretty high error rate.


#73

Oh come on. He had a wife-prop in the apology rant! He obviously has integrity and credibility.


#74

I’d expound upon it further by saying that his actual intent doesn’t matter in the least; it still reflects negatively upon his employers and that alone was valid enough reason to dismiss him. Losing his position, as many have already asserted, will not “ruin” the man’s life; but the negativity that he fostered with his “slip-up” will carry on long after he’s found another job… (probably at Fox & Friends.)


#75

There are slips and then there are slips.
I’m with you on this. If a person doesn’t say
that name with the slur then they don’t… ever.


#76

Even the conceit that he somehow flubbed the words “King” and “Junior,” thereby accidentally fusing them together, is really grasping at straws, IMO.

In my experience, people who accidentally say something horrible or socially unacceptable usually get flustered and apologetic once the words have fallen from their lips; this guy just kept going like he hoped nobody would notice.


#77

bobs-burder-grasping-straws


#78

Well, not the same people anyway.
All this stuff depends on who’s talking.

Asshole bullies punch down.


#79

Excellent point.


#80

It’s just a shame he isn’t the President, who can do this every day, not only with impunity, but with roaring crowds.


#81

Sometimes people make mistakes. Sometimes the mistakes sound insulting, even though they weren’t meant to. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether the mistake was intentional or not.

There are plenty of times when it makes sense to assume bad faith. (Every time the President opens his tiny circular mouth, for example.) Your mileage obviously varies, but this particular instance–without more evidence than we’ve seen here of this guy’s bad faith–does not strike me as one of those times.


#82

Is this guy your sister or something.
Let it go.
If one does not say that word they don’t say that word.
What is so hard about that?


#83

I completely agree with you, and I wasn’t referring to just his career when I said that.

I can understand why the employer would fire him over that, even if they were unsure of whether he meant it or not.

I actually think the public humiliation is much worse than whatever issues it caused at his workplace.

When you read about what happens to these people after going viral, it really does mess everything up for them. Ms. South Carolina considered suicide after her friends turned on her…

“Somebody once put a letter in my parents’ mailbox about how my body was going to be eaten alive by ants and burned in a freak fire. And then it said, in all caps, GO DIE CAITE UPTON, GO DIE FOR YOUR STUPIDITY.”

I lost a lot of close friends over it — people I’d been friends with since I was 10, people I grew up playing soccer with.

“I had some very dark moments where I thought about committing suicide.”

Ok, so she fucked up on a question about maps. How much can we wreck her life? The internet amplifies the normal reaction one would get from an embarrassing episode into something that can consume your life. The difference between embarrassing yourself on the air, and being humiliated by the internet mob are 2 very different things.

I’ve certainly seen people make remarks I’d consider psychopathic on the internet over things like delayed video games, television show scripts, women in computer science. Completely berserk reactions like death/rape threats over nothing. In this case, its possible he meant to be racist, but considering the potential consequences, I’d suggest we save the humiliation for times when we know the guy’s a racist… and there are plenty of those times.


#86

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