A morning TV anchor in Oklahoma apologized a day after likening her black cohost to a gorilla.
Alex Housden said a gorilla at the Oklahoma City Zoo “kind of looks like you” to her colleague, Jason Hackett, at the end of a feature on KOCO-TV on Thursday.
She addressed what she called hurtful comments on the next day’s show.
“I said something yesterday that was inconsiderate, it was inappropriate, and I hurt people,” a tearful Housden said to the audience and Hackett.
“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 address the racism implicit in her comparing an African American to an ape.
Hackett accepted the apology on air and acknowledged the pain caused.
“It cut deep for me and it cut deep for a lot of you in the community,” he said.
Housden and Hackett each reached out to the other as they spoke. Hackett agreed Housden was one of his best friends.
Hackett said he hoped the episode could serve as a wake-up call and a “teachable moment” that “words matter,” especially during a time of changing demographics in America.
“We have to understand the stereotypes,” he said. “We have to understand each other’s backgrounds and the words that hurt, the words that cut deep.”