Alex Housden compared her black co-anchor Jason Hackett to a gorilla, which sparked outrage from viewers
Oklahoma City’s KOCO-TV morning anchor Alex Housden issued an emotional on-air apology after comparing her co-anchor to a gorilla during a broadcast on last week.
Housden and her African American co-anchor, Jason Hackett, were discussing a gorilla at the Oklahoma City Zoo when she joked the animal “kind of looks like you” to Hackett.
After her comparison sparked outrage, Housden sat beside Hackett on-air the next day and delivered a tearful apology.
“I am here this morning, because I want to apologize, not only to our co-anchor Jason, but to our entire community,” Housden said as she began to get choked up.
“I said something yesterday that was inconsiderate, it was inappropriate, and I have hurt people. I want you to know how much I hurt you out there,” she said to the camera, before turning to Hackett and telling him, “and how much I hurt you.”
“I love you so much, and you have been one of my best friends for the past year and a half,” she tearfully told Hackett. “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.”
Hackett accepted the apology and told the audience he hoped that people could learn from the mistake,
“I want to let everyone out there know that Alex is one of my best friends,” he said. “We do what we do here, and it’s not as if we see each other here, and then we leave and then go home. We talk everyday, or almost every other day. I have told you things, I have shared things with you as a friend. I do appreciate you and I do love you.”
Continued Hackett, “All that being said, and Alex will be the first to admit to this to you, what she said yesterday was wrong. It cut deep for me, it cut deep for a lot of you in the community. I heard the phone calls, I heard the Facebook messages as well. Coming out of this, I want this to be a teachable moment. The lesson here is that words matter, there is no doubt about that.”
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“Changing demographics here in this county, the demographics are changing,” he added. “We are becoming a more diverse country, and there is no excuse. We have to understand the stereotypes, we have to understand each other’s backgrounds ad the words that hurt. The words that cut deep, and we have to find a way to replace those words with love, and words of affirmation, as well.
Hackett concluded his impassioned message by telling the audience, “What we need to do, is use our words not to hurt, and not to divide, but to build a more perfect union.”