Jeremy Kappell, a former meteorologist who was fired after he appeared to say a racial slur on air, has filed a lawsuit against WHEC-TV.
The lawsuit stems from an evening broadcast of News10NBC on Jan. 4, 2019. Kappell showed a picture of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and uttered what sounded like the phrase, “Dr. Luther C**n King Jr. Park.”
Vice President and General Manager Richard Reingold said that even though the words were said on Friday, management didn’t find out about it until Sunday.
“I regret that we did not immediately interrupt the broadcast and apologize on the spot,” he said. “The words have no place on News10NBC’s air.”
Just 48 hours later, City of Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren called for his resignation. Reingold said that the station decided to fire Kappell before the mayor’s call to do that.
According to the lawsuit, Kappell said that he was fired without being interviewed and “prior to conducting any real investigation into the situation.”
The lawsuit also referred to Reingold’s statement made on behalf of WHEC, saying that the racial slur was attributed to Kappell, “representing to the world that Kappell had intentionally uttered a racial slur. Reingold defamed Kappell because he knew or should have known that his statement was false.
Kappell said he has suffered severe emotional distress from the incident and seeks a jury trial.