A Cleveland morning news anchor used the racial epithet “jigaboo” while discussing Lady Gaga’s music on live television.
Kristi Capel, co-anchor of "Fox 8 News in the Morning" in Cleveland, was impressed with the pop star’s vocal abilities after hearing her perform a “Sound of Music” medley at the Oscars Sunday night.
"It's hard to really hear her voice with all that jigaboo music that she does, or whatever you want to call it. Jigaboo,” she said on-air Monday morning, before laughing.
The former beauty pageant queen, who was crowned Miss Missouri USA in 2006, used the ethnic slur for African-Americans from the early 20th century to characterize the singer’s well-known dance-pop music — in contrast with her performance at the awards ceremony.
“She has a gorgeous voice. I never knew. Very nice," she added.
Capel was speaking to her co-anchor Wayne Dawson, who is African-American, during the broadcast.
Capel, who grew up in Northern Kentucky, claims that she did not know the word’s meaning or that it was even a word in the first place.
“I do apologize if I offended you, I didn't know the meaning behind it or that it was even a word,” she tweeted to several people.
— Kristi Capel (@Kristi_Capel) February 23, 2015
Many critics countered that she could have either invented the word by throwing together sounds at random or used it without knowing its meaning — but say that both are not possible.
“Which one is it? Bc it can't be both. You either didn't know the definition or you made up a word on air,” one Twitter user wrote.
Soon after, she wrote another tweet that removed the "if I offended you" qualifier from her previous apologies.
"I deeply regret my insensitive comment. I didn't know the meaning and would never intentionally use hurtful language. I sincerely apologize," it reads.
"I want to sincerely apologize for Kristi's comment this morning. She did not know the meaning of that word or how offensive it is. That is still no excuse for her using it on the air. She apologized a short time after saying it and we have spoken to her," Andy Fishman, the news director of Fox 8, said in a statement.