After receiving much criticism for comparing her Black co-host Jason Hackett to a Gorilla on live television, Alex Housden has formally apologized for her words.
Alex Housden who anchors Oklahoma's KOCO-TV, compared her co-anchor Jason Hackett to a Gorilla on live-television when the latter was reporting a story about one of the animals at the Oklahoma City Zoo last week. As his report segment came to a close, Housden remarked that the Gorilla "Kind of looks like you,". After pausing for a few seconds, Hackett replied that “He kind of does, actually, yeah.” to her statement.
Immediately after the incident went on air, people took to social media to criticize her for that comment. Some Twitter users even demanded the firing of Housden for her blatant racism, however, the news outlet has made no such decision. As of Monday, neither KOCO 5 TV nor the co-anchors have commented further on the incident. Housden then made a public apology to Hackett on-air where she tearfully said that she would "never do anything on purpose" to hurt him.
HEY FOLKS! KOCO 5. HAS ALLOWED ALEX HOUSDEN BACK ON TV. I PHONED MANAGEMENT. THEY SAID IT WAS THEIR DECISION TO ALLOW HER TO KEEP HER JOB! If you do not agree with this decision. Please call (405)478-3000. And demand her removal! THANKS!— Yvette Thomas (@YvetteT14439725) August 26, 2019
“I am here this morning, because I want to apologize, not only to our co-anchor Jason but to our entire community,” Housden said with a heavy heart, "I said something yesterday that 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 [Hackett]."
Imagine coming into work and your co-worker tells you that you look like an ape on National TV SMH....I can't make this up! @alexhousden_ should be ashamed of herself for that remark. @koconews obviously felt it was ok bc she's back on air...wow! pic.twitter.com/Q7JLQxU97v— El Crumb (@Coppinalltheyzy) August 27, 2019
I think it's heartbreaking that the male news anchor accepted her apology, but then again that type of behavior is what we're are accustomed to with Trump and is treated as norm nowadays...Not!! Fire her period.— lysaheart (@lysaheart2) August 28, 2019
Hackett in all his humility graciously accepted her apology albeit did express that her comment hurt his feelings. That would explain his brief pause before he quickly had to move on with the show's script.
“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 declared how “words matter,” calling the apology a “teachable moment.” “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.”
Microagressive behavior masquerading as jokes just don't work anymore. This is 2019.— C. Alease Smith, Ed.D. (@CAleaseWriter) August 27, 2019
“HEY FOLKS! KOCO 5. HAS ALLOWED ALEX HOUSDEN BACK ON TV. I PHONED MANAGEMENT. THEY SAID IT WAS THEIR DECISION TO ALLOW HER TO KEEP HER JOB! If you do not agree with... https://t.co/WVhGvDPqT0
While it appears that the two show-anchors resolved this uneasy issue on live television, social media users were still outraged by this incident. The general opinion is that Housden was clearly operating outside her professional environment when making that statement and obviously shouldn't have. No doubt her apology would have calmed the waters to quite an extent in this manner.