We wish we were making this story up, but unfortunately it’s true. In the midst of reporting on Hurricane Matthew, a meteorologist identified as Jennifer Delgado made some very questionable remarks about deforestation in the country. In the midst of explaining how the lack of trees on the island of Haiti could leave residents in harm’s way in the wake of the hurricane, Delgado said:
“We’re really concerned about Haiti and we’re really concerned about the Dominican Republic. You see what’s different in this NASA image, you see all brown here and then green to the east. That’s because this whole area has been essentially deforested. They take all the trees down, they burn the trees, even the kids there, they’re so hungry they actually eat the trees.”
Yes, she said those words on live air without missing a beat. Several hours later, however, Delgado released a statement on Facebook expressing regret for her ridiculous commentary. In the same amount of time a petition was already created demanding she do as such.
“I want to apologize for a statement that I made yesterday that was inappropriate. My intention is always to provide relevant information to areas impacted by severe weather and I wanted to spotlight the incredibly difficult conditions that the people in Haiti continue to face, particularly in light of Hurricane Matthew. I deeply regret and apologize for any statement that I used on-air that was offensive.”
I would say Delgado also apologized on live air yesterday morning, but a more accurate account is she read a prepared statement of apology. The meteorologists use of phrases like a comment that was “found inappropriate” suggests she still doesn’t quite see the issue with her words which were not only demeaning but completely false.
JENNIFER DELGADO APOLOGIZES ON AIR| Thank you to all those who galvanized to dispel these false claims. Our image matters. Weather News channel Anchor Jennifer Delgrado apologize to the Haitians community after a false statement that she made yesterday about the Haitians children saying that "they're so hungry they even eat trees". #lunionsuite #Haiti #MatthewHaiti #HurricaneMatthew
The Weather Channel also released a statement, saying:
The Weather Channel regrets the comments Jennifer Delgado made on air Monday regarding the deforestation in Haiti. Jennifer was not intending to offend the Haitian community and misspoke. She clarified her comments yesterday on-air. The Weather Channel has been dedicated to covering the impacts of Hurricane Matthew on Haiti and will continue to focus on the storm.
Some still don’t feel these half-hearted apologies are enough, noting other professionals have been fired for less. In fact, a separate Change.org petition has called for Delgado not to simply apologize but be fired. Do you think she should lose her job?