Oklahoma City news personality Alex Housden tearfully apologized to her Black colleague, Jason Hackett, after saying he “kind of looks like” a gorilla who was on their KOCO-TV morning show.
Alex Housden, who is white, wrapped up a segment Thursday about the Oklahoma Zoo by showing footage of an ape pressing his face against a camera lens.
“Definitely ready for his close up,” said host Jason Hackett.
“Kind of looks like you,” joked Housden.
According to The Kansas City Star, Hackett responded “He kind of does actually, yeah,” as the scene ended.
On Friday, following negative responses from their viewership, a sobbing Housden apologized for the unflattering comparison while cameras rolled.
“I said something yesterday that was inconsiderate, it was inappropriate and I hurt people, and I want you to know I understand how much I hurt you,” Housden said, touching Hackett’s arm, stating that he had been one of her closest friends for the past year and a half and that she loved him.
“Thank you very much and I do accept your apology and I do appreciate your apology,” Hackett said, saying he counted Housden among his best friends, but that the gorilla comparison was inappropriate.
“What she said yesterday was wrong,” he said. “It cut deep for me and it cut deep with for a lot of you in the community.”
Hackett added that this should be a “teachable moment” for people to choose their words more carefully.
“We’re becoming a more diverse country and there’s no excuse,” he said. “We have to understand the stereotypes, we have to understand each others backgrounds and the words that hurt.”
Teachable moment? That woman is grown — she knew better. She just felt comfortable enough to where she could make that comment and get away with it in the name of humor.