Al Roker and Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter are speaking out about a former television meteorologist who was fired for making a racial slur during a live broadcast.
WHEC-TV meteorologist Jeremy Kappell was let go Monday, three days after referring to Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park in Rochester, New York, as "Martin Luther Coon King Jr. Park" during a weather segment.
The high-profile "Today" weather anchor believes Kappell deserves a chance to redeem himself.
"I think @JeremyKappell made an unfortunate flub and should be given the chance to apologize on @news10nbc," Roker, 64, tweeted Wednesday. "Anyone who has done live tv and screwed up (google any number of ones I’ve done) understands."
Bernice King added her voice Thursday, saying there should be consequences for Kappell's slip-up, but his firing goes too far. She suggested that the former weatherman should instead have been demoted or gone through implicit bias training.
"People need an opportunity to be rehabilitated. … There has to be some repercussions; I don’t think it should go as far in this particular instance as firing an individual," she told TMZ.
King continued: "A broad sweep every time someone says a racial slur… all we're doing is moving people around on the board, because they'll leave there and go to another place and potentially do the same exact thing."
Kappell maintains that the slip-up was simply an accident, claiming he "stumbled over words" and jumbled King's name during his on-air delivery. At the time, Kappell said he didn't realize how his flub was interpreted by viewers.
"I had no idea the way it came across to many people," Kappell said Monday during a Facebook Live video. "That is not a word I said, I promise you that. If you did feel that it hurt you in any way, I sincerely apologize. I would never want to tarnish the reputation of a such a great man as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the greatest civic leaders of all time."
Kappell took to his own Twitter account to express gratitude toward Roker and King.
"Al, thank you very much," Kappell tweeted Wednesday. "Your support means so much to this family."
"Wow. This is so humbling. I have been addressed by the GREAT Dr. King's own daughter. I can hardly type right now. Listen to what SHE has to say," he said in another tweet Thursday.
Roker and King ares not the only ones who think Kappell should get a chance to explain himself. More than 45,000 people have signed a Change.org petition to bring Kappell back on air.
"He was not given a chance to explain or apologize," the petition reads. "This is a good man who had no malice, no intent, no wrong doing. This was an honest slip of the tongue that could happen to anyone. We are all human, we are not perfect."
Celebrities are gearing up for a busy January after recovering from the holiday season. Check back all month long to see your favorite stars at award shows, red carpets and performances. First up: Lady Gaga gets some help with the train of her dress at the National Board of Review Annual Awards Gala on Jan. 8. Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for National Board of Review
Onstage, Globes host and "Killing Eve" star Sandra Oh accepts her award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series Drama. She became the first woman of Asian descent in 39 years to win the category and the first ever woman of Asian descent to win more than one Golden Globe. Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal via Getty Images
Also at the event, Regina King and Barry Jenkins were spotted hugging before a screening of "If Beale Street Could Talk" on Jan. 3. Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Palm Springs International Film Festival
And Emily Blunt accepted the Ensemble Performance Award for "Mary Poppins Returns," along with her young co-stars, Pixie Davies, Joel Dawson and Nathanael Saleh. Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Palm Springs International Film Festival