A white news anchor teased her black colleague, and good friend, on-air, that sometimes he kinda looks like the gorilla fascinated by the camera at the zoo.
The Oklahoma news anchor, KOCO’s Alex Housden, still has her job for now. But the unrelenting outrage and fury came on fast, despite the fact she was referring to the quirky facial expression in the clip.
Housden was doing a segment on a gorilla at the Oklahoma City Zoo with co-anchor Jason Hackett.
“This is Fin. He’s a resident at the Oklahoma City Zoo and this week the zoo’s ape caretaker took over their Instagram and we are all loving that they did,” she said, as the primate gets up close and personal with an on-site camera.
When Alex Housden KOCO thinks her co anchor Jason Hackett KOCO resembles an animal…
Posted by Joy Shana on Thursday, August 22, 2019
“Now as you can see, Fin was fascinated by the camera,” Housden added.
“Definitely ready for his close up,” Hackett chimed in.
“He kinda looks like you,” Housden would then joke.
Being a professional and an incredibly good sport — what else is he going to do? — the black co-anchor laughed awkwardly while agreeing with his colleague.
The inevitable tearful apology was to follow the next day, with Housden appearing on camera with Hackett, breaking down before she could utter her first sentence.
“I said something yesterday that was inconsiderate, that was inappropriate, and I hurt people,” she began, tears already flowing.
“I hurt people. I want you to know I understand how much I hurt you out there and how much I hurt you,” Housden said, as she addressed Hackett. “I’m just humiliated.”
As well you should be.
“I love you so much and you’re one of the best friends the past year and a half and I would never do anything on purpose to hurt you,” she told her coworker as he looked him in the eye.
Hacket was put in a very awkward situation over the incident, especially in the black community where the news anchor has been attacked for being so gracious.
Accepting her apology on-air, Hackett returned the affection to his friend while noting that her words did “cut deep.”
“The lesson here is that words matter,” he said. “We have to understand the stereotypes, we have to understand each other’s backgrounds and the words that hurt, the words that cut deep.”
If the reaction online is any indication — Housden is getting little sympathy — we have not heard the last of this story. At the same time, there are some who don’t believe she consciously intended to harm her friend and coworker and that she never saw her “close friend” through the lens of color while she was ribbing him.
Here’s a quick sampling of responses from Twitter:
Alex Housden cried because her job is in jeopardy. She’s old enough to know better than to compare a black person to a monkey. Her apology is disingenuous. And the only thing worse is Jason Hackett had to sit there and “accept” it. https://t.co/yzYI9ulprx
— Jay Dav-O (@ChocnessMonsta) August 27, 2019
Imagine coming into work and your co-worker tells you that you look like an ape on National TV SMH….I can’t make this up! @alexhousden_ should be ashamed of herself for that remark. @koconews obviously felt it was ok bc she’s back on air…wow! pic.twitter.com/Q7JLQxU97v
— El Crumb (@Coppinalltheyzy) August 27, 2019
The fact that he had to sit there and listen to this apology makes it worse
— Jason Johnson (@DrJasonJohnson) August 27, 2019
Alex Housden and these crocodile tears to keep her job. Oh the irony of having to result to that descriptor. ?
— A Man Has No Name (@K1ngThor) August 28, 2019
Stop touching him. More white privilege.
— KPPB (@KPByeahuknowme) August 27, 2019
White women cry on cue. They are actors. Black people gotta grow a backbone when it comes to them. I would’ve called bullshit on her & told her to stop lying.
— ???? ? (@thereddempress_) August 27, 2019
How do you apologize for comparing someone to a gorilla on television? She should apologize from the unemployment line.
— Milace McNair (@MilaceMcnair) August 27, 2019
And they made him sit there and endure her stunt-pology while she patted him like a pet. pic.twitter.com/kKMhOi0ar0
— Portia McGonagal of Winterfell (@PortiaMcGonagal) August 27, 2019
Emotional manipulation with a splash of white privilege.
Why is she touching him.
Why is she crying so much like she is the hurt party
Why did they make him sit through that apology and have her pat him like koko the pet.
— Chris D’ Drunk ?? (@TheIgboWolf) August 28, 2019
The problem with moving beyond race is that you don’t see people through the lens of color and you end up treating them like you would anyone else. Go figure.
I don’t know, guys. Live TV and improv is a hell of a thing. Clearly what she said was insensitive, clearly it cuts deep, clearly it fingers a wound that most this country is trying to heal, but ALSO Alex is a human, and consciously wasn’t intending harm. Clearly she regrets it.
— The Creator (@ChristJesusGod) August 27, 2019
Wow that was powerful. He’s amazing and has a forgiving heart. I do believe she is sorry #Forgiveness
— Shashana ?? (@Shashana80sKid) August 27, 2019
Maybe this lady wasnt thinking and say the wrong. Some ppl look like animals! Everybody is demanding apology and termination over the stupidest things. He just call her his beat friend. Clearly they a more personal relationship.
— Sam (@sam2jav1) August 28, 2019
i t w a s a j o k e. not about race at all.
— reality (@iamreality_) August 27, 2019
I think it was an honest mistake. They’ll make up tonight…lol
— frederick johnson (@fjohnsonphoto) August 27, 2019
I ~see~ the issue here, but at the same time… if she was Black, it would have been laughed-off as just a crack, and not an AUTOMATIC racist attribution.
Sometimes we make too much of things, creating narratives and relation… where there is none.#Self_Fulfiliing_Prophecy
— Godhead_Coach (@coachabdallah) August 27, 2019
Yes. Let’s just fire everyone who’s accidentally made an insensitive or thoughtless comment. So tomorrow morning all of you go to your desk and pack up.
— Chris Niemir (@niemir) August 28, 2019
Reading the comments on the post I’m kind of saying the same thing. She apologized, and the co-anchor accepted. They are good friends in real life and I think the co-anchor worded it perfectly on being a teaching lesson.
— Dts888 (@XxDts888xX) August 28, 2019
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