Protesters Call for Departure of Duluth TV News Director
Posted at: 08/03/2012 4:07 PM
| Updated at: 08/03/2012 8:14 PM
About a dozen protesters gathered outside a Duluth TV station Friday, calling for the departure of a news manager after he made a racist remark on Facebook.
Jason Vincent, the news director for KQDS-TV (Fox 21), posted the comment to his personal Facebook page on Wednesday evening. It said, "Add drunk, homeless, Native American man to the list of animals that have wandered into my yard... Then he proceed to wave at me and give me the peace sign when he spotted me in the window. Wow..."
An image showing the comment was shared on public Facebook pages, including the Fond du Lac Reservation People's Forum, and led to quick condemnation. Vincent deleted the original post and issued an apology late Wednesday night on the station's Facebook page, but the apology was also deleted after receiving more than 200 comments.
Ricky Defoe, the co-chair of Duluth American Indian Commission, was among the protesters outside the station Friday afternoon chanting, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Jason Vincent's got to go!" Defoe called Vincent's remarks inflammatory and degrading.
"It's a teaching moment here not only for him but for the community and particularly for the media, the institution of media here in the city and throughout the nation, that what is being said by these folks and what has been fostered, these images, these metaphors, cannot be perpetuated," Defoe said.
KQDS-TV general manager Jackie Bruenjes said the station planned to make a statement on its Friday night newscast. "We here at KQDS Fox 21 TV do not condone this behavior," Bruenjes said in a prepared statement. "We are truly sorry this incident occurred," she said.
Vincent was on vacation Thursday and Friday, which was planned before the controversy erupted. Bruenjes said he would return to the station on Monday.
Vincent, who said in his now-deleted apology that he has Native American ancestry, has served as KQDS-TV's news director since February 2010. As news director, he is in charge of the station's news department and has editorial control over reports which air on the station.