"Martin Luther Coon King Jr. Day, gonna see some temperatures in the mid-60s."
That was the statement uttered by former KTNV-TV Channel 13 weatherman Rob Blair on the morning of Saturday, January 15, 2005 during his extended weather forecast. Apparently he suffered a lethal brain fart while attempting to remind the good citizens of Las Vegas that there'd be pleasant weather on the day of Dr. King's observance.
Even though he'd only been at the ABC affiliate station three months, Rob Blair was no rookie broadcaster. At just fourteen years old his career got going as he broke into radio in Indianapolis. This led him to landing him a coveted Top 40 DJ spot. He was the youngest person to ever hold such a position.
From there, Rob Blair found himself in Orange County, California attending Chapman University. He hosted weekend radio show on a local Top 40 radio station. He broke into meterology with a weather anchor and reporting job in Palm Springs, California. After gigs in Monterey and Chico, he got the job at KTNV-TV Channel 13 in Las Vegas.
A mere three months later, Rob found himself apologizing for a coontastic "slip of the tongue" event in the morning broadcast. Indeed, he offered a full apology in the 6 PM and 11 PM newscasts. In the six o'clock hour apology, co-anchor Christina Brown (who is black) facilitated it by saying "Right now we want to pause for a program note. Rob?"
"On a weather report earlier this morning, I made an accidental slip of the tongue when talking about the Martin Luther King holiday, and what I said was interpreted by many viewers as highly offensive. For that I offer my deepest apology. I in no way intended to offend anyone. I'm very sorry."
Yes, unfortunately for Mr. Blair, most non-racist folk take exception to referring to black people as coons. And for that he was dismissed from his weather anchor's position at the station by Jim Prather, vice president and general manager of KTNV.
"This kind of incident is not acceptable under any circumstances, and I'm truly sorry that this event occurred," Prather said.
Many people who have defended Blair, among them Howard Stern, pointed out that people often combine words when reading from a script (in this case, allegedly "King" and "Junior"). Also worthy of note is that the segment was pre-taped and if he had consciously made a racial slur he would have had it edied it out, and that the segment went by six editors who did not detect the racial slur.
What calamity befell Rob Blair's neural synapses if it was indeed not an intentional racial slur? Was he thinking "don't call him a coon, don't call him a coon!"? (Sort of like when you tell somebody not to think of an elephant so of course it's the first thing they think of). Or maybe it was an accident, but he loves to refer to blacks as coons to make himself giggle when he's alone.
Or maybe Rob Blair is just a dumbass.