Two members of the KATV team in Arkansas are getting a little extra time without pay after a stunt went awry.
With a southern cold front coming through, temperatures were dipping into the 70s.
So, as a joke, meteorologist Barry Brandt and Anchor Chris May decided to don some 70s hairstyles as a joke.
Well, it was perceived to be racist, and now both of them are on the sidelines, and their boss was reportedly fired.
The two had no sooner gotten off the air when they found out they were going to get hit with a suspension.
There were all kinds of pushback from viewers, saying the stunt was blatant racism.
The “afro” wigs being worn on white men, even though plenty of white men donned an afro hairstyle in the 70s, were not perceived well by an almost half black audience (Little Rock has a demographic of about 42 percent black).
The doll was followed by the main anchor wearing an afro wig to celebrate the 70 degree temperature. Here's the crazy part, all of this happened after the station had gone through "diversity" training. We know there were suspensions and we're told more action will be taken. pic.twitter.com/8XxETFK09G
— Dorothy Tucker NABJ (@Dorothy4NABJ) September 23, 2021
A spokesperson for the station stated, “Swift action was important to hold the responsible parties accountable.”
John Seabers, a Sinclair Broadcast Group vice president and group manager in charge of local stations in Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma, could not apologize quick enough.
He stated, “We apologize to all viewers who were rightfully offended by the segment, and we promise to enact and enforce new measures to prevent future incidents from occurring.”
Seabers later held a phone call with local black journalists calling the wig stunt “abhorrent” and “juvenile.”
Now, KATV has vowed, “further training for sensitivity and workplace conduct, in line with our commitment to ensuring events like this don’t happen again.”
Not everyone took the joke as a racist attack.
One commenter stated, “I’m African American and I saw the weather report with the wigs.
“I really didn’t think too much about it. Everything is not racism. There were white men in the 70’s who wore Afros just like blacks.
“I think sometimes we go overboard. Its [sic] a shame someone had to lose their job over this.”
Another wrote, “Good grief. As evidenced by all the comments here there were tens of thousands of white guys with ugly Afros in the 70s and 80s.
“She had to lean way over to get hit by the pitch. I can’t believe they apologized.”
Those two clearly did not get the memo that anything and everything must be changed to a racist narrative these days, even if you have to reach like Stretch Armstrong to make it racist.
When their suspensions are over (if they don’t ultimately get fired), we can probably expect the obligatory apology on camera begging forgiveness.
Source: New York Post