A morning TV anchor gave a tearful apology after being called out for comparing her co-anchor to a gorilla during a broadcast last week.
During a segment about a baby gorilla playing with a camera at the Oklahoma City Zoo, KOCO anchor Alex Housden, a white woman, made the remark that it resembled her co-anchor Jason Hackett, a black man.
Hackett took a moment before agreeing.
TV morning anchor Alex Housden to partner: “It (Gorilla) kind of looks like you" www.youtube.com
Hackett's response was seen as polite and trying not to rock the boat but viewers were up in arms.
The concept of comparing black people to monkeys and apes has a long and racist history, one that still isn't over. It was often used to justify race separation and to de-humanize people.
Despite some people thinking racism has been solved, it is still alive and well today, affecting not just race relations, but socio and economic class.
So how did Housden even consider saying something like that?
@KOCOAlex Did you say what I thought I heard concerning the story about the baby gorilla and Jason this morning?— Fred O (@Fred O)1566482192.0
@KOCOAlex @KOCOZach @lizzo Do they look like baby gorillas as well! You racist people deserve to Rot in hell— Mikey (@Mikey)1566667503.0
@KOCOAlex you called you African American co host a monkey on live T.V. you should just wear your Klan suit on the… https://t.co/62Bvmq1tt7— Mr.Magnificent. (@Mr.Magnificent.)1566574979.0
After a day of backlash, Housden and Hackett returned to the screen, and Housden gave a tearful apology for what she said.
Apology segment www.youtube.com
Housden calls Hackett not just a coworker but one of her best friends. She extends the apology beyond him but to their entire community.
Hackett accepts the apology and goes on to say,
"We have to understand the stereotypes, we have to understand each other's backgrounds and the words that hurt, the words that cut deep."
Despite all of this, people were slow to accept the apology.
No, it wasn't inconsiderate and inappropriate. It was racist. If you can't admit it was racist, your apology is ha… https://t.co/jU0zyh5X2e— Agri-Braddock🌾afk:moving dirt around | he/him/his (@Agri-Braddock🌾afk:moving dirt around | he/him/his)1566922598.0
@KOCOAlex @KOCOZach @lizzo You should be out of a job! It speaks volumes for the station you work for that you are… https://t.co/TzhPiOktXl— K. Moore (@K. Moore)1566844077.0
@CNN Her comment is not ok. Yes she apologized but that’s not something you just brush off. That is very hurtful.… https://t.co/cq0QyGYgk6— Mon (@Mon)1566940058.0
@KOCOAlex I don't know, Alex. Giving you the benefit of the doubt, but, friends don't call friends Gorillas. They d… https://t.co/scIaPZrm7t— PatriciaD (@PatriciaD)1566939389.0
Many felt that Housden was faking her tears, or only apologizing because she was called out. Others still called for her resignation.
On the other hand, some people have accepted her apology. They feel she was genuine and understand that people make mistakes.
They may not approve of her initial comment, but are willing to give her another chance.
@KOCOAlex I don’t know what was said, but I do know that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. We all… https://t.co/WDfDtwJJoh— Catherine Little (@Catherine Little)1566570034.0
@KOCOAlex I forgive you. You didnt mean no harm. Dont let the sensitive internet get to you.— Everyday Thang w/ PJ (@Everyday Thang w/ PJ)1566641320.0
@KOCOAlex thank you for your apology, and @KOCOJason you are a stand up guy.— Fringephile (@Fringephile)1566569462.0
Whether you see this as a racist attack with a crocodile tear follow up, or an accident with a genuine apology, there is no denying the effects of racism on our society today.
Even if some people really want to claim racism has nothing to do with race, those in this country who aren't white still have to deal with these incidents all the time.
Think about the experience of the people around you before you go comparing anyone in your life to an animal.