During a morning broadcast on Oklahoma’s KOCO-TV, an ABC affiliate, Alex Housden was reporting on gorillas at the local zoo. While doing so, Housden told her co-anchor, Jason Hackett, a black man, it “kind of looks like you.” Hackett responded, “He kind of does, actually, yeah.”
It may have seemed innocent at the time but the optics make the situation say otherwise. History has shown that black people have been wrongly compared to primates and is a form of racism, obviously.
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The following day, Housden did a tearful apology with Hackett by her side. “I’m here this morning because I want to apologize, not only to my co-anchor Jason but to our entire community,” she said. “I said something yesterday that was inconsiderate, that was inappropriate, and I hurt people. And I want you to understand how much I hurt you out there and how much I hurt you.”
Housden points out that the two are not only co-anchors but friends and that she “would never do anything on purpose to hurt you.” she said. “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.”
Hackett accepted her apology and pointed out that Housden is one of his best friends. “What she said yesterday was wrong,” he said. “It cut deep for me, and it cut deep for a lot of you in the community.”
He continued, “Coming out of this, I want this to be a teachable moment. The lesson here is that words matter.”
“We have to understand the stereotypes,” Hackett said. “We have to understand each other’s backgrounds and the words that hurt, the words that cut deep. We have to find a way to replace those words with love and words of affirmation, as well.”
Watch the videos below.