In Oklahoma, a morning TV anchor likened her black cohost to a gorilla. She apologized the day after.
On Thursday, at the end of a feature on KOCO-TV, CNN’s affiliate, Alex Housden told her colleague, Jason Hackett, that the gorilla at the Oklahoma City Zoo “kind of looks like you”.
On the next day’s show, she addressed her hurtful comments.
Housden who was tearful, told Hackett and the audience that, “I said something yesterday that was inconsiderate, it was inappropriate, and I hurt people.”
She followed with “And I want you to know, I understand how much I hurt you out there and how much I've hurt you. 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. 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.”
Housden did not mention the implied racism in her comment that compared an ape and an African American.
Hackett acknowledged the pain it caused and accepted the apology.
He shared that, “It cut deep for me and it cut deep for a lot of you in the community.”
Hackett and Housden both reached out to each other as they talked. Hackett agreed that, indeed, cohost Housden was one of his best friends.
He also shared that he hoped that episode could be a “teachable moment” and wake-up call that “words matter.” He emphasizes this especially since we are in a time where America’s demographics are changing
“We have to understand the stereotypes,” he reminded. Furthermore, he added that “We have to understand each other’s backgrounds and the words that hurt, the words that cut deep.”