This past Thursday morning, one St. Louis newscaster apologized on air after mispronouncing Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s name that included a racial slur.
The newscaster alleged it was “not intentional in any way.”
Newscaster Kevin Steincross of KTVI (Channel 2) was on the station’s morning news show at about 5:34 a.m. when he said an upcoming tribute to the civil rights icon at St. Louis University would honor “Martin Luther coon Jr.”
“Coon,” is a racial slur that has been used against black people.
“I want to take a moment to apologize,” Steincross shared on air around 9 a.m.
“We have heard from a viewer about a mistake I made in our 5 a.m. newscast. In our story about the tribute to Dr. King, I unfortunately mispronounced his name. Please know I have total respect for Dr. King, what he meant and what he continues to mean to our country. This was not intentional in any way, and I sincerely apologize.”
A Tribune Broadcasting representative then shared how it was an unfortunate mistake and the station will not be taking any disciplinary measures against Steincross.
“The Fox2 management team spoke to Kevin following the mistake and we believe that it was truly inadvertent and does not reflect Kevin’s core beliefs,” a Tribune spokesperson shared in a written statement.
“Kevin is extremely upset by the mistake and regrets it deeply.”
The St. Louis County chapter of the NAACP gave their thoughts on the mispronunciation on Thursday, calling it “unacceptable and very disappointing,” in a social media post.
A series of broadcasters have been making the same mispronunciation of King’s name — leading the public to debate if the name slip up was a mistake or revealed racism.
Jeremy Kappell, an upstate New York meteorologist, was fired earlier this month after speaking about the weather at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park in Rochester.
He instead said how it looked gray at “Martin Luther coon King Jr. Park,” appearing to fumble over the name.
Three days later, the general manager of News10NBC announced that Kappell no longer worked at the station.
Al Roker along with fellow newscasters defended Kappell, saying how the mispronunciation was an “unfortunate flub.” But others were not as forgiving. Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, a black woman, called for his firing — saying how it revealed cultural insensitivity.
Then, in 2013, meteorologist Mike Hernandez of San Antonio said he also mispronounced the name, calling the holiday “Martin Luther coon Day.”
He later apologized and was able to keep his job.
Mike Greenberg, ESPN sports broadcaster, said in 2010 both he and his co-host on the “Mike & Mike” radio show were “talking football with you on this Martin Luther coon King Jr. holiday,” on air. He also apologized and was not fired.
Back in 2005, Rob Blair, Las Vegas weather reporter, said temperatures would be in the mid-60s on “Martin Luther coon King Jr. Day.”
After working for the station for just three months, he was fired.
Steincross has been working at the KTVI station since 1996 as a general assignment reporter, co-anchor as well as morning newscaster, according to his bio on Fox2Now.com.
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