The chief meteorologist at a local news channel in Rochester, New York, was fired Sunday after using a racial slur on-air in reference to Martin Luther King Jr.

Jeremy Kappell referred to a local park as "Martin Luther Coon Park," during a Friday broadcast on WHEC-TV, an NBC affiliate.

WHEC General Manager Richard Reingold said in a statement, “On behalf of News10NBC, I apologize for our broadcast of a racial slur in a reference to Martin Luther King, Jr. Park during our Friday evening broadcast (1/4/19). Upon learning of the incident, News10NBC leadership immediately initiated an internal investigation and internal discussion, and by Sunday had made a staffing change.

“As a result of that broadcast, meteorologist Jeremy Kappell is no longer with News10NBC. We believe strongly in holding our reporters and anchors to the highest standard. We are proud of our dedicated newsroom professionals, and expect and require that each respects and understands that their behavior reflects directly on the station for which they work and the community we serve.

“These words have no place on News10NBC’s air, and the fact that we broadcast them disheartens and disgusts me; that it was not caught immediately is inexcusable. I regret that we did not immediately interrupt our broadcast and apologize on the spot.

“Our Friday broadcast does not represent the values of News10NBC, its hardworking staff, or the great people of Rochester. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of America’s greatest heroes – for whom I, and all of us at News10NBC, have the utmost respect. I am terribly sorry to all of our viewers. We are redoubling our efforts to ensure that this never happens again.”

Kappell responded to the termination on Twitter saying, "I've never uttered those words in my life." He added that flubbed his words while speaking too quickly on air.

Kappell posted a Facebook video on Monday saying, “"If you watch me regularly you know that I contain a lot of information in my weathercast which forces me to speak fast and unfortunately, I spoke a little too fast when I was referencing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. -- so fast that I jumbled a couple of words.

"In my mind I knew that I had mispronounced, but there was no malice, there was nothing I could have... I had no idea the way it had come across to many people. As soon as I mispronounced it I put an emphasis on King and had no idea what some people could have interpreted that as and I know some people interpreted that the wrong way.

"That was not a word that I said, I promise you that. And if you did feel that and it hurt you in any way, I sincerely apologize."

Kappell said in his video that he has been a meteorologist for 20 years. He had been with WHEC since October 2017, according to his LinkedIn page

"I'm so disappointed that my career could end this way and I'm extremely disappointed by my television station, whom I expect a certain level of support from and I did not receive at all," Kappell said.

The mayor of Rochester, Lovely Warren, called for Kappell’s firing while others defended his on-air mistake on Twitter, saying that he just misspoke.

Warren and the city council released a statement that said, “It is wrong, hurtful and infuriating that WHEC Channel 10 broadcast a racial slur in reference to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during its Friday News broadcast.

“It is beyond unacceptable that this occurred. There must be real consequences for the news personality involved and also for the management team that failed to immediately apologize and address the slur.

“It took the station nearly two days to apologize, and only after the station was shamed into doing so by a backlash on social media.”

According to Reingold, the action to fire Kappell was not influenced by Warren.

He said on-air on Sunday, "We learned about this Sunday morning, unfortunately quite a while after the incident happened. The minute we learned about it we jumped on it.

“We came to the decision we did sometime before I knew of Mayor Warren's position. So I welcome her position, I understand it, I respect it, but it did not have any impact on our decision because we didn't know about it.”

Weatherman Racial Slur A chief meteorologist responds to being fired after a racial slur was aired on WHEC-TV, an NBC affiliate. A weather map showing nearby thunder storms May 22, 2009 in the media center at Kennedy Space Center in Florida as NASA waves off the landing of the space shuttle Atlantis due to approaching thunderstorms. NASA will try again May 23. Photo: Getty Images/STAN HONDA