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News Anchor Under Fire After Using ‘Outdated’ Racial Term Live on Air

A Missouri news anchor faced a mountain of criticism and apologized after he used an “outdated” term to describe black people on the air.

During a Feb. 26 segment for KMOV-TV in St. Louis, evening anchor Cory Stark was reporting on a story about home appraisals in the area.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Stark used the word “colored” during the segment.

The network reporter stated, “Tonight, colored homeowners are sounding the alarm when it comes to undervalued home appraisals.”


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According to the Post-Dispatch, the segment sparked immediate backlash among several groups and local viewers.

Both Stark and the brass at KMOV apologized.

In a statement to the newspaper, KMOV vice president JD Sosnoff explained how the word found its way onto the CBS affiltate’s airwaves.

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“It was in an original script as ‘homeowners of color’ and was inadvertently changed and mistakenly read on air,” Sosnoff told the newspaper.

He added, “We regret the error and apologized to our viewers on air at 10 p.m. on Monday night and at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday night.”

In an on-air apology, Stark explained he had spoken to leaders in the St. Louis black community and that he and KMOV “strive to do better, every day.”


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Stark added, “The word should have never come out of my mouth, and it does not reflect who I am or what First Alert 4 represents.”

In a lengthy statement, the National Association of Black Journalists called the term “colored” both a “slur” and “outdated.”

The NABJ stated:

“The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is appalled and disappointed by a recent incident at KMOV, Gray Television’s affiliate in St. Louis. While teasing a story about Black homeowners and appraisals, an anchor referred to the homeowners as ‘colored.’

“It is upsetting that such a slur would make it to air. The term is outdated, offensive and racist. We are concerned that no one in the KMOV newsroom caught this error, and we question KMOV’s editorial process when it comes to cultural awareness.”

The NAJB added that St. Louis is more than 40 percent black and suggested the station should be more careful and sensitive when covering stories about those who make up much of the city’s population.

The association also said the apologies from KMOV and Stark were not enough.

“KMOV and Gray TV should retrain their employees on diversity, equity and inclusion issues while investing in recruiting and retaining Black employees on and off-air,” the NABJ said.

The local head of the NAACP — the initials stand for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People — was much more forgiving of Stark.

When speaking with the Post-Dispatch, St. Louis County NAACP President John Bowman said he was stunned to hear the word on television and that it reminded him of the Jim Crow era.

But he said he had previously met Stark and did not believe he used the word “colored” with any malice.

“Trust me, I’ve had enough experience dealing with people who intentionally show discrimination or racist behaviors,” Bowman told the newspaper.

He concluded, “But I’ve interacted with Cory Stark, and at no time have I ever felt that about him.”

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