Austin ABC-affiliate KVUE called Austin bombing victim Draylen Mason “this young man.” But closed captioning wrongly claimed the reporter called him “this monkey.”
Mason, who was black, died earlier this month at 17 years of age.
Because of the error, which introduced a racial slur, KVUE axed its closed captioning provider. In a March 22 statement on its website, KVUE called it a “terrible mistake” and apologized to Mason’s family.
“We want to be clear that this typographical error was NOT made by any employee of KVUE,” the statement read in part. “We contract with VITAC — an outside company — to live caption our newscasts. We are taking this mistake very seriously and we are heartsick about this terrible error.” KVUE said it “severed ties” with VITAC on March 22. The reason for the move not being “immediate,” KVUE said, was because the station needed to “secure a replacement to this service while adhering to FCC guidelines.”
iMediaEthics has written to both KVUE and VITAC for more information.