Oklahoma City news anchor apologizes for saying black co-anchor looked like a gorilla

An Oklahoma City morning news anchor delivered a tearful apology to her black co-anchor after she said in a previous segment that he looked like a gorilla.

Alex Housden of KOCO 5’s morning news said on air Friday that she wanted to apologize not only to Jason Hackett, her colleague, but also to the community, according to a video of the segment.

“I said something yesterday that was inconsiderate, it was inappropriate, and I hurt people,” she said while crying.

“And I want you to know I understand how much I hurt you out there and how much I hurt you,” she said while turning to Hackett.

Housden was referring to a segment from Thursday about an ape caretaker who took over the social media for the Oklahoma City Zoo. While showing video of what appeared to be a baby gorilla, Housden told Hackett the animal “kind of looks like you.”

“I want you all to know from the bottom of my heart, I apologize for what I said. I know it was wrong and I am so sorry,” Housden told viewers Tuesday.

“I do accept your apology and I do appreciate your apology,” Hackett responded.

The segment then turned to Hackett, who made it clear that he considered Housden a good friend, but that the words “cut deep for me” and he knew many in the audience who responded to the zoo segment felt the same way.

“I want this to be a teachable moment and the lesson here is that words, words matter,” Hackett said. “There’s no doubt about that.”

Hackett went on to say that the country’s demographics are changing and there is no excuse not to be aware of the kind of comments that can be hurtful to minorities.

“We have to understand the stereotypes, we have to understand each other’s background and the words that hurt,” he said. “The words that cut deep. And we have to find a way to replace those words with love and words of affirmation as well.”

Despite Hackett’s acceptance of the apology and wish to turn the moment into something positive, some on social media were still outraged by the comment and urged the station to fire Housden.

Apology IS NOT ENOUGH!!! WHY WASN’T
SHE. FIRED IMMEDIATELY?? KOCO CHANNEL 5 HAS NO MORAL BOUNDARIES?????
ANSWER THAT KOCO 5. https://t.co/dk0DUxsSaK

— Victoria Drake (@Victoria1Drake) August 27, 2019

She spoke her true feelings. She can stick her apology, where the Sun don’t shine……

Jason Hackett was compared to a gorilla on KOCO by a colleague https://t.co/TqGerM9Xz0

— havesomerespect (@vivian_terry) August 27, 2019

When your best friend is a racist and demeans you on TV and you have no choice but to “forgive her” because you need your job.

Housden showed who she is. Believe her. #kocohttps://t.co/pZj7kmj5zF

— Glanavon (@idiotropical) August 27, 2019

In a statement to NBC News, KOCO 5 said it would not be commenting on the matter further.

“The apology by Alex and Jason’s acceptance and his comments about the broader issue are the only public comment necessary,” the station said.

Image: Doha MadaniDoha Madani

Doha Madani is a breaking news reporter for NBC News. 

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