Again!? Now a third TV news anchor has apparently said a racial slur when trying to say Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s name on air. In a Jan. 19 broadcast, Baton Rouge, Louisiana NBC-affiliate WVLA anchor Jeanne Burns made the latest mispronounciation; WVLA’s statement didn’t specifically say how she mispronounced King’s name but two other TV news personalities have said the racial slur “coon” when saying King’s name this month. Facebook comments on WVLA’s statement indicate Burns made that same mistake. iMediaEthics has written to ask.
In a Jan. 20 apology from WVLA parent company Nexstar Broadcasting Baton Rouge Vice President and General Manager Eric Thomas, the station said it was an “inadvertent” error and apologized. The full apology reads:
“The NBC Local 33 Management spoke with Jeanne Burns following the mispronunciation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s name last night. We believe it was truly inadvertent and does not represent Jeanne’s core beliefs nor her character. Jeanne is demoralized by this mistake and regrets it immensely. We understand the impact a mistake like this has on our community. On both Jeanne’s behalf, and the station’s, we apologize for this mistake. We hope that our, and her history of community involvement demonstrates this was nothing more than a misspeak.
Last week, Missouri Fox-affiliate KTVI news reporter Kevin Steincross apologized after saying the slur inadvertently. Earlier this month, Rochester NBC-affiliate WHEC fired chief meteorologist Jeremy Kappell for the same mistake.