WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Alex Housden, a morning TV anchor for Oklahoma’s KOCO-TV, apologized to her black co-host on Friday after comparing him to a gorilla.
- On Thursday, Housden told her co-host, Jason Hackett, that a gorilla at the Oklahoma City Zoo “kind of looks like you” at the end of a feature on the CNN affiliate channel.
- The next day, Housden addressed the hurtful comments on the show, calling the controversy a “teachable moment” as Hackett accepted her apology.
Alex Housden, a morning TV anchor for Oklahoma’s KOCO-TV, apologized to her black co-host on Friday after comparing him to a gorilla during a live broadcast.
Jason Hackett was reporting at the Oklahoma City Zoo on a story about a gorilla when Housden made the “hurtful” comments.
“Kind of looks like you,” she commented as the segment came to a close.
Hackett paused for a moment, then responded: “Yeah, kind of does, actually, yeah.”
Housden’s comments sparked outrage on social media, leading to her apology on air the next day. Sitting beside her co-anchor on a couch, the co-host tearfully told Hackett she would “never do anything on purpose to hurt” him.
“I said something yesterday that was inconsiderate, it was inappropriate, and I hurt people,” she said. “I want you to know I understand how much I hurt you out there and how much I hurt [Hackett].”
Hackett, who considered Housden as one of his best friends, accepted the apology and referred to the incident as a “teachable moment.”
“We’re becoming a more diverse country, and there’s no excuse,” Hackett said on Friday’s show. “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.”
Hackett admitted that while he and his co-host had moved on, he still found her comments hurtful.
“What she said yesterday was wrong,” he aid. “It cut deep for me, and it cut deep for a lot of you in the community.”
Some viewers, however, were not satisfied with Housden’s apology, with a lot of people taking to social media this week with calls for her termination.
“Imagine coming into work and your co-worker tells you that you look like an ape on National TV SMH….I can’t make this up!” a Twitter user said.
Neither Hackett nor Housden had released any additional comments on the controversy. Housden has no new post on her professional Facebook page since making the controversy.