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US television presenter apologises after comparing black colleague to a gorilla

“I said something yesterday that was inconsiderate, it was inappropriate, and I hurt people,” anchor Alex Housden said.

Image: Shutterstock/IxMaster

A US TELEVISION anchor has apologised on-air after comparing her black colleague to a gorilla, NBC News reported.

Alex Housden of KOCO 5 News in Oklahoma City made the remark last Thursday during a segment on an ape whose handler was running the local zoo’s Instagram for the day.

When a video of a baby gorilla appeared on screen, Housden, who is white, turned to her black co-anchor Jason Hackett, and said that the ape “kind of looks like you,” NBC reported.

The following day, a tearful Housden apologised to Hackett, saying: “I said something yesterday that was inconsiderate, it was inappropriate, and I hurt people.”

I want you all to know from the bottom of my heart, I apologise for what I said. I know it was wrong and I am so sorry.

Hackett accepted her apology, but acknowledged that the words “cut deep for me”.

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

The incident comes amid heightened racial tensions in the US following a series of remarks by Republican President Donald Trump directed at elected representatives from the Democratic opposition that have been criticised as racist.

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The president in July said four Democratic lawmakers of color should “go back” to where they came from, then later called Baltimore, a majority-black city, a “dangerous and filthy place”.

- © AFP 2019

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