Anchors on Arkansas TV station KATV who decided to celebrate cooler temperatures by wearing Afro wigs have been suspended after sparking online backlash.
Main anchor Chris May and meteorologist Barry Brandt were taken off the air at the Little Rock-based station after donning the hairpieces during an evening weather report on September 16.
“Swift action was important to hold the responsible parties accountable,” a spokesperson told AdWeek.
Dubbed “return to the 70s,” the segment featured May and Brandt sporting wigs modeled after Afros. The former anchor later tweeted a photo of their controversial cosplay, which was later deleted.
According to the Arkansas Times, activist Dr. Anika Whitfield issued a complaint to WATV, writing that the segment was a perpetuation of “systemic racism” to have “European American” men wearing Afro wigs. After receiving no response, Whitfield reached out to Sinclair Broadcast Group vice president John Seabers, who then issued an apology.
“We apologize to all viewers who were rightfully offended by the segment, and we promise to enact and enforce new measures to prevent future incidents from occurring,” wrote Seabers.
In addition to May and Brandt’s suspensions, Sinclair Broadcast Group also fired their boss and station news director Nick Genty, the Daily Mail reports.