A television anchor issued an emotional apology to her co-anchor after comparing him to a gorilla.
Alex Housden and her co-anchor Jason Hackett were reporting about a gorilla at the Oklahoma City Zoo when Housden said the animal “kind of looks like you.”
Hackett is black.
“He kind of does, actually, yeah,” Hackett said as Housden laughed.
The next day, Housden apologized to Hackett.
“I’m here this morning because I want to apologize, not only to my co-anchor Jason but to our entire community,” Housman said. “I said something 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 you,” she said tearfully, looking at Housman. “I love you so much and you have been one of my best friends for the past year and a half and I would never do anything on purpose to hurt you.”
She said she now knows what she said “was wrong” and apologized.
Hackett accepted the apology but said it was a moment that can teach people.
“Alex is one of my best friends. … We talk every day … I’ve told you things, I’ve shared things with you as a friend.
“All that being said, and Alex would be the first to admit this to you, what she said yesterday was wrong. It cut deep for me, and it cut deep for a lot of you in the community,” he added, noting he’d gotten phone calls and Facebook messages about the segment.
“The lesson here is that words matter. There’s no doubt about that. Changing demographics here in this country, the demographics are changing, 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,” he added. “What we do here as broadcasters, we use words, words are the tools of our trade. Much like a plumber would use a wrench or a doctor would use a scalpel, we use words. And our goal, and what we need to do is use those words not to hurt and not to divide but to build a more perfect union and this is going to be a journey for us, we’re learning things here.”
Walking into the rest of the week like….Happy Wednesday, Friends! You’re almost to Friday!
Some people said the apology was sufficient, while others called for Housman to be fired.
“If you’re comfortable saying those kind of things on air, who knows what you say behind closed doors. The petition to have you fired is coming and your days as an anchor are numbered,” a Facebook user wrote on Housman’s page.
“What exactly was your apology for? The racist ideology or saying it out loud? I’m sure your co-anchor had to accept your apology for political correctness to keep his job. But you should of lost yours because of the way you think,” said another.
“As an African American male your comments about your co-anchor were disheartening, but I really want you to study the plight of African Americans so that you can understand and never make a mistake of that level EVER again. Also to discourage and educate your peers to how hurtful behavior such as this can be. I wish you Gods speed and please get the education,” said another.
“Those of us who don’t see the world in black and white (or other) are confused by what you said was ever an issue. But I guess a lot of people are still stuck in the dark ages. People are people, and if you said the same comment to a fellow co-worker of any other race, it wouldn’t have been an issue. The problem is the way people perceived the comment, not the comment itself. We see you every week on the news and we know you meant no harm. Keep your chin up,” said another.