In case you didn’t know, eating outer tree bark is “no more pleasant than chomping into your bookshelf.”
That’s because bark is primarily made up of polymer cellulose, which the human digestive system cannot process. But Jennifer Delgado apparently didn’t know this when she was talking about the effects of Hurricane Matthew on Haiti. The Weather Channel anchor was explaining the wide deforestation problems in Haiti when she made the odd claim that young Haitians eat trees.
“That’s because this whole area has been essentially deforested. They take all the trees down, they burn the trees,” Delgado said. “Even the kids there, they’re so hungry, they actually eat the trees.”
The false statement drew immediate backlash from Haitians, some of whom started a petition calling for Delgado to be fired. It has garnered more than 16,000 signatures as of Thursday morning.
“Haitians around the world are extremely upset and offended by Ms. Jennifer Delgado’s stupid remarks and want her separation from the Weather Channel,” the petition states. “She had not proven her professionalism, competence and knowledge about Haiti during her weathercast.”
Delgado apologized in a Facebook post on Tuesday, saying her statement was “inappropriate” and “offensive.”
Many people commenting on the post expressed dissatisfaction with the apology and demanded to know where she had heard that Haitians eat trees in the first place.
“The statement you made on the air while millions of people are watching the progression of the storm is not a simple mistake that will go away with a half-apology. Your words will contribute to maintain the false misconceptions about a country that I love and that you should know contributed to liberate the world from slavery and colonialism,” one user wrote. “If you are truly remorseful, you have an obligation to make an honest apology on the air to the people of Haiti that you have offended, and you should make a public commitment to learn about the history, the culture and the gracious people of Haiti.”