A Second-By-Second Recap of That Bizarre, Ridiculous and Utterly Perfect KOCO-TV 'Gorilla' Apology Video

0:08: The first shot you see is one of KOCO-TV morning anchors Alex Housden and Jason Hackett seated next to each other, with approximately six inches of space separating them. Housden looks frantic and harried like she just completed a seance for a whiteness Voltron that hasn’t yet arrived. Hackett looks like he’s waiting for some bullshit.


0:12: The waterfalls start to almost fall as Housden begins her apology to both Hackett and their “entire community.” We’re left to wonder which community she’s referring to. Are Housden and Hackett neighbors? Roommates? Frequent attendees of Furries conventions? WHICH COMMUNITY IS THAT WHICH YOU SPEAK OF, ALEX?

Also, Hackett now looks like the bullshit he was waiting for has finally arrived, but it’s not quite the bullshit he ordered. Like he asked for the bullshit medium-well, but they gave it to him well done. He’s not mad or anything about it, but he’s still trying to decide whether to send it back.

0:32: Housden digs deeper into her sad white woman war chest, and inches closer to him while touching his arm, peering directly into his eyes and telling him she loves him—a tactic known in the industry as “The Triple Play.” The only thing missing is Housden sharing a story about “Jamal,” her “beautiful and brilliant” study partner from the first semester of her junior year—a tactic known in the industry as “The Lena Dunham.”

0:50: Housden concludes her apology, and this is when things get weird. “Jamal” Hackett finally speaks, letting Housden know he forgives her, and he does this while putting his hand on Housden’s exposed knee and lower thigh ... and just keeping it there. And not just a touch, but a whole ass grip.

What is happening on the set of KOCO-TV?

1:24: As Hackett continues, sharing how this co-worker he’s known for 18 months—the same person who just compared him to a gorilla on live TV like, 10 minutes ago—is one of his best friends, I can’t help but wonder why the fuck he’s even there. I mean, I get it, for optics’ sake, for Housden to apologize on camera to Hackett. But now we’re just left with this awkward black man awkwardly attempting to explain the context of racism in America while awkwardly avoiding necessary terms like “Darth Becky,” and “racist motherfucker,” and “I cut my beard off and bought these church suits for this shit?”

And remember, this is the same man who, when said co-worker said he looked like a gorilla, agreed. Maybe Jason Jamal Hackett just ain’t got the range for nuanced public dissertations on race. Which is fine! Everyone can’t be Steph Curry! Some of y’all just need to rebound and shoot layups. THERE ARE LANES FOR EVERYONE. JUST STAY IN YOURS, JASON JAMAL!

2:00: Jason Jamal is still going. And now he’s asking us to “replace words with love.” Which confuses me because does he mean we should stop speaking? Or perhaps make “love” the only word in the English language? Does he realize “love” is very literally a word too? Does Jason Jamal think racism will be solved if we all just became Groot?


2:28: This nigga just said out of his mouth that we need to use words to “build a more perfect union.” I’m not cynical enough to believe that Jason Jamal’s positioning himself for a political future, but...actually, I lied. I’m exactly that cynical. Jason Jamal Hackett for 2024!

Also, related, Alex Housden is still sitting there, and the intensity of her gaze at him is making me uncomfortable. Is it possible to be white-guilted into a marriage proposal?


2:35: Jason Jamal concludes his speech with a slight smile on his face, perhaps because he’s realizing in real-time that this gorilla thing is the best thing that’s ever happened to his career (and his love life).

You could almost feel him calculating more contrived stories they can cover—a watermelon-eating contest, perhaps—just so Housden could gaffe again (“Boy, the winner of that contest sure has a watermelon grin, just like yours, Jason!”) and he could parlay it into more national coverage and bare knee touches.


Jason Jamal Hackett for 2024!

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



The lingering hand on the knee/thigh was a bold move. The first time I saw it, it gave me pause.