Blake McCoy made the controversial remark on Tuesday afternoon and later deleted his tweet, issuing an apology for his “insensitive and offensive” comment.
“I’m annoyed obese people of all ages get priority vaccine access before all essential workers,” he said in the now-deleted tweet.
“When most stayed home, we went into work everyday last March, April, May and everyday since putting ourselves & loved ones at risk. Vaccinate all essential workers. Then obese,” he said.
McCoy immediately came under fire for his tweet, facing criticism and demands for his resignation or sacking. Some Twitter users said they have called or emailed the Fox 5 news station to complain about his views.
Within hours of his initial comments, the news anchor was forced to issue an apology, saying he regretted what he said in his tweet.
“Earlier today I tweeted something insensitive and offensive,” McCoy posted. “I truly regret my words and want to apologise. I have deleted my tweet and ask that you accept my sincere apology.”
Erica Keane, a spokesperson of TV station WTTG, of which FOX 5 News is a part, said: “He has been suspended pending further review.” She told the Washington Blade the action against him was in connection to his tweet about obese people and the coronavirus vaccine.
Social media users vehemently opposed his comments and a number of health care workers and journalists came forward to criticise him, saying his statements were “hurtful” and “disgusting”. Some others shared his past pictures, accusing him of travelling during the pandemic.
A healthcare worker on Twitter said she was saddened to see the tweet. “Everyone is waiting their turn and I waited for mine as a healthcare worker. There shouldn’t be any hierarchy on compassion” she said.
“I saw it, and I was a bit taken. I am a plus-sized LGBTQ individual, and I do struggle with my appearance as well as anxiety. I DO accept your apology Blake. I hope that was a ‘moment’ and not a display of you overall. I find you a good-hearted person that just made a mistake,” said another user.
McCoy’s tweet came as 15 states in the US identified obesity as one of the qualifying conditions to get coronavirus vaccine shot in an attempt to push people with underlying health conditions to the front of the queue.
People with body mass index (BMI) above 30 would get the jabs as they are at potential risk of getting severe Covid complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.