Oklahoma City’s KOCO 5 News anchor, Alex Housden apologizes after taking the lash from the public for racially profiling black News Co-Anchor, Jason Hackett. The incidence occurred during a live News broadcast relating to a viral Instagram video on an Oklahoma City Zoo gorilla, named Fin. The caretaker captured excerpts of the western gorilla, Fin in selfie videos and posted on Instagram.
While the commentaries were flowing, Co-Anchor Housden on KOCO 5 News Live TV compared Hackett to the gorilla in the video. The white Co-anchor, Housden while commenting on Fin says, “Now as you can see, Fin was fascinated by the camera.” And Hackett cheerfully responded, “You can tell that he was definitely ready for his close-up there.” Housden immediately replied jokingly, “He kind of look like you when you take a picture.” Hackett however, made light of the issue by saying, “Yeah, it kind of does actually, yeah.”
Not long afterward, there has been a public outcry from particularly the black community about the racist comment on KOCO 5 News show. The video seems to have gone viral and generating a lot of criticism with some calling for Housden’s sack. Within a couple of days, one video on the issue posted on Facebook by Joy Shana has recorded close to 500 thousand views.
Going Live on KOCO 5 News one day after shows teary Alex Housden and straight-faced Jason Hackett in an emotional segment. Housden made a public apology to Hackett and the entire community regretting her choice of words and unwarranted comments. She says, “I’m here this morning because I want to apologize, not only to my co-anchor Jason but to our entire community.” Housden said this in a somber mood while touching Hackkett’s arm.
“I said something yesterday that was inconsiderate, that was inappropriate, and I hurt people.” Looking at the camera and then back at Co-Anchor Hackett; Housden said; “And I want you to know, I understand how much I hurt you out there, and how much I hurt you.”
Housden said, “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 commented on an emotion-laden voice. She says to the camera, “And I love our community, and I want you all to know from the bottom of my heart: I apologize for what I said. I know it was wrong, and I am so sorry.”
In the spirit of forgiveness, Hackett, responds, “Alex, thank you very much, I do accept your apology, and I do appreciate your apology.” He made a comment facing Housden and touching her knee.
Hackett, went on the explain how close their relationship has been even beyond the workplace. Hackett also mentioned how he and Housden even share personal matters besides work nd he appreciates her dearly.
However, Hackett opened up a bit by saying, “What she said yesterday was wrong. It cut deep for me, and it cut deep for a lot of you in the community”. Hackett, therefore, chose this moment to talk about the underlying issue of diversity, which Americans must learn to embrace. He says, “I want this to be a teachable moment [and] the lesson here is that words matter. The demographics are changing, and there’s no excuse. We have to understand the stereotypes”.
Taking pauses and turns to look at his co-anchor and the camera, he says further, “We have to understand each other’s backgrounds. We have to find a way to replace those words with love and affirmation. As broadcasters, words are the tools of our trade. What we need to do is use those words not to hurt and not to divide, but to build a more perfect union.”
Alex Housden’s comments and apologies to Jason Hackett on KOCO 5 News should help douse the tension a bit. It, however, opens the ugly sores of stereotypes, racial discrimination, and profiling. Profiling, name-calling, etc. of blacks and Africans as monkeys, apes or gorillas is a historical fact. Some political figures, as well as the average American citizens, are not innocent of these claims. Examples exist of political comments on Michelle Obama, issues at the UN – international scene, political thinkers, etc. all fill our history books. But like Jason Hackett says, “We’re learning things here, and we at KOCO 5 hope that you join us.” It’s a journey to reconciliation, diversity, and inclusion.
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