Weatherman fired for alleged on-air racial slur sues news station

The former chief meteorologist of an NBC station in Rochester who was axed earlier this year for allegedly using a racial slur during a live broadcast filed a lawsuit Monday against his old employer.

Jeremy Kappell filed suit against WHEC-TV, Hubbard Broadcasting the station’s general manager, Richard Reingold for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress, according to WHAM.

Kappell was canned on Jan. 4, days after a broadcast in which he appeared to refer to Rochester’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Square Park, as “Dr. Luther C–n, King Jr. Park.”

At the time, Kappell attributed the incident to a “verbal slip” – a claim echoed in Kappell’s lawsuit against his old station, which faults his utterance as a “linguistic error.”

The weatherman’s attorney’s said in the suit filed in Monroe County Court that the statement released by WHEC General Manager Richard Reingold following the incident amounts to defamation.

Kappell’s lawyers said that Reingold’s statement directly attributed the racial slur to their client, “representing to the world that Kappell had intentionally uttered a racial slur. In doing so, Reingold defamed Kappell,… ” according to the lawsuit obtained by WHAM.

Kappell is seeking a jury trial and an unknown monetary judgement.

WHEC-TV responded to their ex-employee’s lawsuit in a statement, saying “We are disappointed that Mr. Kappell has taken this step, and are prepared to defend our decision to the fullest. Because this matter is now in the courts, we will have no further comment.”

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