A local TV news anchor is under pressure, with some observers calling for him to be fired, after he used a racial slur on the air while referring to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the local chapter of the NAACP wants KTVI-TV, Fox2, to fire newscaster Kevin Steincross, after he said on the air on the station’s morning news program on Jan. 17 that a tribute was planned at St. Louis University to honor “Dr. Martin Luther C–n Jr.”
The verbal flub included a racial slur that has been used against African Americans, the report notes. The gaffe was similar to another recent incident in which meteorologist Jeremy Kappell of WHEC-TV in Rochester, N.Y., was fired after he said “Martin Luther C–n King Jr.” on the air.
Following the Rochester incident, Dr. Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., came out publicly with her feelings that Kappell should not have been fired.
In the most recent case, Steincross apologized on the air a few hours after the incident, saying: “I want to take a moment to apologize. We have heard from a viewer about a mistake I made in our 5 a.m. newscast. In our story about the tribute to Dr. King, I unfortunately mispronounced his name. Please know I have total respect for Dr. King, what he meant and what he continues to mean to our country. This was not intentional in any way, and I sincerely apologize.”
The Post-Dispatch adds: “On Thursday, ahead of a meeting with the St. Louis County NAACP, a representative for Tribune Broadcasting said the station viewed the mispronunciation as an unfortunate mistake and did not plan to take additional disciplinary measures against Steincross after his apology.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for Tribune said: “The Fox2 management team spoke to Kevin following the mistake and we believe that it was truly inadvertent and does not reflect Kevin’s core beliefs.”
But the paper notes that Tribune’s position didn’t sit well with the county NAACP chapter.
John Gaskin, president of the St Louis County NAACP, is quoted saying: “There are some matters where it is imperative we take a stand, and this is one of them. I understand some people believe it was a mistake, but there are some mistakes in every field that are grounds for termination.”
The report notes: “The slur has a painful history for African-Americans, often used by racists to denigrate King.”
Another group calling for more action by the St. Louis station is the Ethical Society of Police, a police membership organization that represents mainly black officers, along with Missouri state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed.
The clip below, which was posted on YouTube, starts with the Steincross incident and includes a number of similar incidents …