A TV news anchor in Oklahoma City issued a tearful apology to her Black co-host after she made a racist comment on air, saying he looked like a gorilla.
During the local ABC station’s morning news program last week, KOCO anchor Alex Housden, a white woman, capped off a segment about a gorilla at the Oklahoma City Zoo by telling her Black co-anchor, Jason Hackett, that he resembled the primate. The racist comment sparked outrage among viewers and went viral, and Housden made her on-air apology the following day.
“I want to apologize not only to my co-anchor, Jason, but to our entire community,” she said through tears.
“I said something yesterday that was inconsiderate, it was inappropriate and I hurt people. And I want you to know I understand how much I hurt you out there and how much I hurt you,” she added, turning to Hackett.
She told the anchor that she loved him, considered him a best friend and knew what she said was wrong.
“I do accept your apology and I do appreciate your apology,” Hackett responded, adding that he considers her a best friend too. “I do appreciate you and I do love you. All that being said … what [Alex] said yesterday was wrong. It cut deep for me and it cut deep for a lot of you in the community.”
Hackett said he wanted this to be a teachable moment for everyone.
“The lesson here is that words matter,” he said. “We’re becoming a more diverse country. … We have to understand the stereotypes and each other’s backgrounds and the words that hurt, the words that cut deep. And we have to find a way to replace those words with love and words of affirmation as well.”