‘Today’: How an On-Air Racist Remark Impacted Al Roker – and How He Handled It at That Moment

by Jeremy Spirogis
Al Roker

Today weatherperson Al Roker opened up lately in regards to the first time he ever encountered racism within the office. The 65-year-old described the stinging second in his new ebook, You Look So Much Better in Person.

Al Roker
Al Roker | Al Pereira/Getty Images

The comment made to Al Roker on the air

The tv persona wrote in regards to the second in his new ebook and likewise discussed it on the air along with his Today colleague, Craig Melvin, throughout the morning present. It came about early in Roker’s profession – virtually forty years in the past – at Cleveland affiliate, WKYC, however the reminiscence clearly nonetheless carries painful feelings.

“There was an anchor guy in Cleveland,” the daddy of three recalled. “Every night we’d leave and go off, we were in downtown Cleveland. And there was an older homeless gentleman who happened to be African American, and one night he came up behind Doug with a rolled-up newspaper and bopped him on the back of the head and ran off.”

Al Roker in 1990Al Roker in 1990
Al Roker in 1990 | Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection through Getty Images

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“Anyway,” he continued, “the next day we get on the air and his wife, Mona, is about to introduce me, and he goes, ‘Mona, before you introduce Al, Al I don’t know if you know this, but last night, one of your people attacked me.”’

Roker, caught off guard by the remark, regrouped shortly and someway dealt with it with out incident. His response displays the tv persona’s professionalism and beauty beneath stress.

“Now this is one of those moments where time stands still,” he advised Melvin. “What do I do? And I just looked at him and I go, ‘Doug why would a weatherman attack you?’ And then just went into the weather.”

Al Roker mirrored on what would have occurred if that remark had been made today

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The morning present veteran mused on how his former colleague’s remark would have flown today within the age of social media and on the spot clapbacks.

Speaking with Good Housekeeping in July 2020, he mentioned of his coworker at the moment, “He would have been destroyed. And, you know, I’m not gonna say ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ whether he deserved to. He was an affable guy and what he said was not typical of what he would normally say.”

“But, you know,” he added, “it was a racist comment. … He ended up leaving the station and picked up somewhere else. I don’t know if he’d be able to do that (today).”

Al Roker’s latest ebook

As for the aforementioned new ebook from the Today present climate anchor, it’s Roker’s 13th ebook. The title, impressed by feedback Today followers have kindly meant and truly mentioned, You Look So Much Better in Person: True Stories of Absurdity and Success informs whereas cheering and opens up about essential subjects whereas motivating readers to decide on optimism over despair.

In a July 2020 dialog with TV Insider, the writer mentioned his new ebook goals to reassure readers that, as John Lennon sang, life actually is what occurs to you once you’re busy making different plans.

“I had no plans of being on television,” he mentioned. “I didn’t consider it, didn’t think about it. When I looked in the mirror in college, I was already losing my hair, I was chunky, I had glasses, and I was black. In 1974, that was not a recipe for, ‘Hey, you want to be on TV?’”

“But I wanted to be in television. I wanted to work in TV, not on TV. But when my department chairman wanted me to audition for it, I said, ‘Yes, why not? What’s the worst that would happen, I didn’t get the job? Oh, well.’”

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