Uproar after local news anchor teases black co-host he ‘kinda looks like’ gorilla in story

Screengrab KOMO

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:

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.



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