Anchor Lee Cruse apologizes for racist joke made on air
WLEX 18 will keep anchor Lee Cruse off the air next week after he made an on-air comment that was decried as racist.
“Our anchor Lee Cruse exhibited a lack of judgment on air this week, and both WLEX and Lee regret this mistake,” WLEX Vice President and General Manager Pat Dalbey said in a statement Friday night. “The statements expressed were inappropriate and do not reflect who we are as a company. After evaluation of the situation, WLEX has made the decision to keep Lee off the air next week.”
Cruse, the co-host of ‘Live with Lee & Hayley,’ reacted on-air last week to a story about a BBC radio broadcaster, Danny Baker, who tweeted an image of a couple holding hands with a clothed chimpanzee captioned “Royal baby leaves hospital,” referencing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s new baby. Baker was fired and has apologized.
As he began to deliver the story, Cruse laughed and referred to Bailey as “my new favorite disc jockey.”
In banter with his co-host, Cruise said the tweet “didn’t have to be” considered racist.
He apologized on the air the following day and again on Friday.
In his May 10 statement, Cruse said he had made an “egregious error” and had not read his script before he went on the air to deliver the story May 9.
“That’s not me. That isn’t me at all,” Cruse said May 10. He later called himself a “full-blown moron idiot” and said he deserved to be called the “vile and ugly” names people were calling him on social media.
WLEX had said Thursday that it was “evaluating the matter further.”