Newscaster apologizes for using racial slur in Martin Luther King Jr.'s name on air

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Kevin Steincross claims he mispronounced Martin Luther King Jr.’s name live on air and apologized later in the broadcast for his flub. (Photo: KTVI)
Kevin Steincross claims he mispronounced Martin Luther King Jr.’s name live on air and apologized later in the broadcast for his flub. (Photo: KTVI)

A St. Louis newscaster is apologizing after he accidentally used a racial slur to describe an upcoming tribute to Martin Luther King Jr., saying it was “not intentional in any way.”

Kevin Steincross, who works at Fox affiliate KTVI in St. Louis, was speaking on the station’s morning news show around 5:30 a.m. when he mispronounced King’s name and instead was heard using a racial slur, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

A few hours later, around 9 a.m., Steincross apologized. “I want to take a moment to apologize,” he said. “We have heard from a viewer about a mistake I made in our 5 a.m. newscast. In our story about the tribute to Dr. King, I unfortunately mispronounced his name. Please know I have total respect for Dr. King, what he meant and what he continues to mean to our country. This was not intentional in any way, and I sincerely apologize.”

The St. Louis County chapter of the NAACP called the incident “unacceptable” and “disappointing.”

A representative for Tribune Broadcasting, which owns KTVI, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Steincross would not face further discipline for the error.

“The Fox2 management team spoke to Kevin following the mistake and we believe that it was truly inadvertent and does not reflect Kevin’s core beliefs,” a Tribune spokesperson said a written statement. “Kevin is extremely upset by the mistake and regrets it deeply.”

Steincross is just one of a number of broadcasters who have had the same slip of the tongue in recent years. Earlier this month, meteorologist Jeremy Kappell was fired from Rochester, N.Y., news station WHEC after he appeared to use a slur in the middle of King’s name.

In 2014, Mike Hernandez, a San Antonio meteorologist, apologized after using a “racially insensitive” term while referencing Martin Luther King Jr. Day, saying it was a mispronunciation. In 2005, another weatherman, Rob Blair of KTNV-TV, was fired after roughly three months on the job for using a racial slur on air to describe Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2005.

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