A news station in Austin, Texas, faced swift backlash after referring to Draylen Mason, the late 17-year-old victim of recent Austin bombings, as 'this monkey' during a broadcast.
Statesman News reports the racial slur ran across the news ticker on Austin ABC affiliate KVUE during a nightly news airing on Tuesday.
On March 12, Mason was one of two people to lose his life in a string of serial bombings in the Texas city. KVUE is one the largest closed captioning firms in the country and provides captioning services to hundreds of broadcasters. They provide more than 525,000 hours of real-time broadcast captioning in a year.
After reviewing all of the information leading to the incident, KVUE decided to sever ties with Colorado-based caption services company VITAC. In a statement, the KVUE apologized to the Mason family for the offensive incident:
“We are taking this mistake very seriously and we are heartsick about this terrible error… We apologize to Draylen’s family and to our community."
A statement released by VITAC also apologized for the alleged "error":
“The unfortunate error which occurred was neither intentional, nor is it a regular or acceptable occurrence in the delivery of our services,” VITAC said. “As a group of professionals, we at VITAC are resolutely serious in our commitment to provide accurate, essential accessibility services for the deaf and hard of hearing community and we are embarrassingly disappointed that we failed to do so today.”
Mason was an aspiring musician who was recently accepted into Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin. He was also member of the Austin Sound Waves program.
Rest in Power, Mason.