Kevin Steincross, an anchor with Fox St. Louis, said “Martin Luther coon Jr.” while talking about Martin Luther King Day on air on January 17. Steincross has apologized saying that it was an accident and “not intentional in any way,” reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The incident occurred at around 5:34 a.m. while Steincross was talking specifically about a tribute to Dr. King that is due to take place at St. Louis University on January 21. In apologizing on air at around 9 a.m., Steincross said, “I want to take a moment to apologize. We have heard from a viewer about a mistake I made in our 5 a.m. newscast. In our story about the tribute to Dr. King, I, unfortunately, mispronounced his name. Please know I have total respect for Dr. King, what he meant and what he continues to mean to our country. This was not intentional in any way and I sincerely apologize.” While a later apology for the channel read in part, “Kevin is extremely upset by this mistake and regrets it deeply.”
Earlier in January 2019, Jeremy Kappell, a meteorologist for NBC’s affiliate in Rochester, New York, was fired when he referred to a park in the city as “Martin Luther coon King Jr. Park.” Newscaster Al Roker said that he believed Kappell’s actions were an honest mistake and that he should not have been fired.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Fox St. Louis Does Not Plan to Fire Steincross
According to Steincross’ profile on the Fox St. Louis’ website, he is the general assignment reporter, morning newscaster and co-anchor at the station. Steincross says of his early schedule, “I never dreamed I would be getting up at 3am to go to work and eating lunch by 9am. (Who knew fish or pasta would taste good at that hour?) I’ll admit it, it ain’t easy, but I’m willing to make some strange concessions to do a job I love.” Steincross says he is a native of Alabama and that he studied at Baylor University in Texas and Columbia University in New York City. Before moving to St. Louis, Steincross worked in South Dakota and Oklahoma.
He has been with the affiliate since 1996. The Vice President of News Audrey Prywitch said that no additional discipline is planned for Steincross and said that bosses believe it was an accident. Prywitch did say that Steincross’ words do not reflect the station’s core beliefs.
2. Steincross Appeared on ‘The $25,000 Pyramid’ With Gladys Knight
On his official profile, Steincross said that his TV career began when he appeared on the game show, “The $25,000 Pyramid.” Steincross said he appeared in the show with Gladys Knight as his partner. Knight appeared on the October 1, 1987, episode of the show, according to IMDb. Steincross jokes on his page, “No, I did not win (I blame Gladys). Steincross writes on his profile, “Thanks for watching, and if you see my old Pyramid episode on The Game Show Network, please change the channel! Bad ’80s hair.”
The scandal involving Steincross erupted on the same day that Gladys Knight was confirmed as singing the National Anthem prior to Super Bowl LII.
3. Steincross Is 1.7 Percent Nigerian
In a May 2018 segment that aired live on Fox St. Louis, Steincross learned of his DNA history. Although he was not surprised to learn that he was more than 70 percent English. Steincross learned that he was 1.7 percent Nigerian. Steincross was also a little more than 1 percent Central American and also a minor percentage Jewish.
4. Comedian Dane Cook Wore Steincross’ Worn Socks During an Interview
Prior to an August 2013 interview with Dane Cook, Steincross had to lend the comedian a pair of black socks, according to the Post-Dispatch. The report says that Cook took the socks and wore them during a slew of interviews despite the facts that Steincross had warned them the day before.
5. St. Louis County’s NAACP Chapter Called Steincross’ Words ‘Unacceptable & Very Disappointing’
In a tweet, St. Louis County’s NAACP’s chapter referred to Steincross’ apology as “unacceptable and very disappointing.” There are others on Twitter who are calling for action as a result of Steincross’ words: