Al Roker is coming to the defense of a former television meteorologist who was fired for making a racial slur during a live broadcast.
WHEC-TV meteorologist Jeremy Kappell was let go Monday, three days after referring to Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park in Rochester, New York, as “Martin Luther Coon King Jr. Park” during a weather segment.
The high-profile “Today” weather anchor, however, believes Kappell deserves a chance to redeem himself.
“I think @JeremyKappell made an unfortunate flub and should be given the chance to apologize on @news10nbc,” Roker, 64, tweeted Wednesday. “Anyone who has done live tv and screwed up (google any number of ones I’ve done) understands.”
Related: A TV meteorologist who used a racial slur on air was swiftly fired
Kappell maintains that the slip-up was simply an accident, claiming he “stumbled over words” and jumbled King’s name during his on-air delivery. At the time, Kappell said he didn’t realize how his flub was interpreted by viewers.
“I had no idea the way it came across to many people,” Kappell said Monday during a Facebook Live video. “That is not a word I said, I promise you that. If you did feel that it hurt you in any way, I sincerely apologize. I would never want to tarnish the reputation of a such a great man as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the greatest civic leaders of all time.”
Kappell took to his own Twitter account to express gratitude to Roker for his backing.
“Al, thank you very much,” Kappell tweeted Wednesday. “Your support means so much to this family.”
Related: Meteorologist apologizes in Facebook video, promises he did not use racial slur on TV
Roker is not the only one who thinks Kappell should get a chance to explain himself. More than 35,000 people have signed a Change.org petition to bring Kappell back on air.
“He was not given a chance to explain or apologize,” the petition reads. “This is a good man who had no malice, no intent, no wrong doing. This was an honest slip of the tongue that could happen to anyone. We are all human, we are not perfect.”
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