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WHEC Did The Right Thing In Firing Jeremy Kappell. Here’s Why.

Discussion in 'Davy Vara' started by DavyV., Jan 9, 2019.

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  1. DavyV.

    DavyV. Rochester NY Police Corruption Blog

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    By MJ Vara


    To begin, I wish Mr. Kappell well (I have no reason to wish him ill); and I wish his wife and children the best (they’re completely innocent — even of making error in this matter).

    But Kappell brought this down on himself and the circumstances are suspect.

    Second, for those who think Mr. Kappell is the victim of "liberal snowflakes” and a liberal media, etc.: quite the contrast: this is solid, American, capitalist, “John Wayne” territory: accept responsibility, man-up, deal with it, move on!

    Lately it seems the right-wingers are the snowflakes: feeling entitled, constantly whining, not accepting accountability, and so forth.

    Mr. Kappell deserves a second change (we all do) — but, WHEC is not the place for the second chance (neither is Rochester). He was not executed — he was fired for messing up bad on live TV! Second chances do not have to take place in the same place (or the same relationship/company/city, etc.). It’s like a romantic break-up: no one is saying, “Go die you hateful scum!” It is simply “You messed up, humiliated us — move on!"


    Now to the matter at hand:

    This incident happened live, on-air (broadcast, not cable/pay-TV, etc.; it was sent out to entire community), and so everyone has a right to discuss it, express their views, speculate, etc. I just think the speculation should be somewhat “educated’ and not rash -- one way or the other.

    Since we do not know what is in this man’s heart, unfortunately, we are left to speculate. It would help to know Mr. Kappell's "social milieu" — does he have minority friends? What are his political leanings? Does he attend a church with a diverse population or with social ethics that defend vulnerable folks? This may all seem a private matter — but it would help to know these things to asses Mr. Kappell in life-context, and specifically, as these parameters relate to his views on race/ethnicity, etc.

    Often, when we cannot know what is in a person’s heart (and cannot give full-weight to their own self-defense as it is self-serving) we must consider the incident at hand by other measures (for example, in law, aside from circumstantial evidence, we look at “consciousness of guilt”).

    What people are not considering here is that in this case WHEC’s ethical and corporate duties as a business and an organization that serves a wide community take precedence.

    Remember, this is old-school broadcasting -- offered to the entire community, not a subscription service.

    WHEC has no obligation to Mr. Kappell except those spelled out in his work contract (again, something many people don’t get).

    Consider the actual, indisputable incident: what occurred on air could not go unnoticed (we should all agree on that, I hope!).

    So it follows: if noticed, it had to be addressed. It was certainly the kind of incident that stops you in your tracks: “What did he just say???!!! Did he actually say that — or did I mishear?"

    The defense of Mr. Kappell (and his defenders): "Oh, it was a simple slip of the tongue!”

    If it was a slip-of-the-tongue it was a NOT and a simple one by any means: it was a HIGHLY unusual term to use -- and it ask me us a lot to consider it a coincidence.

    I mean, come on! A very common American/English surname, that is also a noun, (King), that happens to be the name of a major Civil Rights icon, and Mr. Kappell substitutes it with a very common, well-known, racist term???!!! And, to boot, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is, in fact, referred to by this hateful moniker by racists! As the kids say: it’s a thing!

    Keep in mind, as well, that not all "slips of the tongue" are simple mistakes; often , they reveal hidden viewpoints (look up "Freudian slip” in the actual, clinical definition).

    Again, speculating (but this was a public incident and speculating is legitimate): this could be a term Mr. Kappell has used before in private, perhaps it indicates how he thinks of MLK Park and its visitors, and it could be an unconscious belief that was accidentally revealed in an unguarded moment.

    How do I know?

    I don't.

    How do you know otherwise?

    And, more importantly, “brass tacks” and what most people do not get: this man has an obligation to his employer and colleagues — to not embarrass the corporation, to not damage the brand, to not attract controversy and potential litigation, etc.

    Actually, Mr. Kappell has already damaged WHEC; he has cerated a huge mess for them — he has stirred up a hornet’s nest on both sides (not the role of a meteorologist, generally speaking).

    This is not a simple error — (putting aside trying to read the man’s heart/mind, and looking at the facts: Mr. Kappell used a radioactive term while performing a very public job for a private employer that serves a diverse community; he did the live broadcast and while describing a park named after a beloved American icon and frequented by many minority folks.

    Such disdain is, in fact, typical of racists and such a term to describe Dr. King is used in private conversation.

    If Mr. Kappell is in fact not a racist — not prejudiced, has a record of supporting minority communities (volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club, etc.) that is great.

    But, again, on this one, he should apologize, state his actual views of Dr. King, and accept responsibility and seek other employment elsewhere.

    Come on! This is so clear.

    So, firing Mr. Kappall is a job performance issue — not at all a "liberal media".

    After all, we do not live in a communist nation -- we live in a capitalist nation with private enterprise, business interests, for-profits interests, legally-binding work contracts, etc. (along with ethical obligations to the viewing public/community-as-a-whole, also; I am not suggesting WHEC has only corporate interest in mind — but I am focusing here on the clear-cut private employment aspect, the human resources/job contract aspect).

    Finally, as our nation continues in "regression mode," as a large swatch of our people are corrupted by Trump, and as our American principles and norms are attacked and degraded by Trump — the general public, political/religious leaders, and even private corporations MUST stand up for what is right, what is ethical, what is AMERICAN.

    I applaud WHEC’s actions and wish Mr. Kappell well in his future endeavors.

    I hope he looks into his heart for any unconscious, psychological “residue” of prejudice (it was such a totally WEIRD thing to say — on air, live!), and if he is in fact a Christian who goes by Christian principles, accepts he “sinned” on some level, accepts responsibility, seeks to calm his defenders’ needlessly provoked emotions, and simply accepts responsibility.

    Mr. Kappell, you have stirred folks up enough — please do not divide this community further by creating a contentious campaign to defend you for words that are indefensible.



    Editor’s Note:

    MJ Vara is a regular contributor on The Davy V. Blog.

    He has a Masters degree from SU and a New York State license, both in a counseling field, and over 25 years experience practicing psychotherapy. He wishes to make it clear his piece is speculative/metaphorical and in no way does he claim to know what is Mr. Kappell's actual racial attitudes/beliefs. However, in MJVara's view, everyone is "taking sides" on this issue without much depth of thinking and he wished to share his own thinking, based on his general knowledge.







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