A black news anchor was compared to a gorilla by a colleague during a live broadcast, and while he accepted his coworker's apology, he's using it as a powerful lesson to remind people that "words matter."
During a broadcast last Thursday, Alex Housden, a morning anchor for KOCO, a TV news station in Oklahoma City, ended a segment about a gorilla at the Oklahoma City Zoo by comparing the animal to her coanchor, Jason Hackett, saying, "Kind of looks like you."
Hackett responded, "He kind of does, actually, yeah."
The clip was shared on Facebook, where people criticized Housden's comment, calling it "unbelievable."
The following day, Housden issued a tearful on-air apology to Hackett, saying her comment was "inconsiderate."
"It was inappropriate, and I hurt people," Housden said.
"I want you to know I understand how much I hurt you out there, and how much I hurt you," she added, turning to Hackett.
She said she would "never do anything on purpose" to hurt Hackett.
"I want you all to know, from the bottom of my heart, I apologize for what I said," Housden said. "I know it was wrong, and I am so sorry."
Hackett accepted Housden's apology and said that while he considers her a close friend, the comment hurt his feelings.
"What she said yesterday was wrong," Hackett said. "It cut deep for me, and it cut deep for a lot of you in the community."
Hackett said that the incident could be used as a "teachable moment" to tell people that "words matter."
"We're becoming a more diverse country, and there's no excuse — we have to understand the stereotypes. We have to understand each other's backgrounds and the words that hurt, the words that cut deep," Hackett said. "We have to find a way to replace those words with love and words of affirmation as well."