Alex Housden takes job as Texas PIO. Resigns the next day.

Since the pandemic kicked off in March, one of the most common questions we get in the Ogle Mole in-box is “What happened to Alex Housden at Channel 5?”

If you remember correctly, Alex caused controversy in August 0f 2019 when she made the off-the-cuff remark that a baby gorilla at the OKC zoo kind of looked like her Black co-anchor, Jason Hackett. The clip made the rounds on the social media outrage circuit, and the next day Alex gave a tearful on-air apology to Jason that we think he accepted.

Surprisingly, KOCO didn’t fire Alex or terminate her contract after the incident, and she awkwardly remained employed at the local ABC affiliate until March. Then, as the pandemic rolled into full gear, she quietly disappeared from the OKC airwaves, leading to all those “What happened to Alex Housden at Channel 5?” questions.

Well, I guess we now have an answer – Alex apparently moved back to her home-area of central Texas, started going by her married last name, took a job as a PIO for Bell County, and then resigned a few days later. Here’s more:

Via The Temple Daily Telegram:

Bell County’s first public information officer hired

The Bell County Commissioners Court welcomed the county government’s first public information officer on Monday.

Commissioners said they are looking forward to working with Alex Reich — and cited her lengthy experience working in news media. Reich most recently worked as a news anchor for KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City, and also served as an evening anchor for ABC affiliate KTEN-TV in Sherman.

“She’s obviously well qualified with her background in media. As far as all of the folks that we had apply for the (position), she was one of the better — if not the most — technically qualified people to put in that job,” Commissioner Bobby Whitson said. “She’s a highly positive, upbeat and enjoyable person to be around. Kind of a no-brainer.”

Bell County Judge David Blackburn echoed Whitson’s comments.

“The county has lots of departments, lots of services and lots of entities, so trying to better coordinate our public information is a high priority. We’re looking to Alex helping us with that,” Blackburn said. “Her background in journalism and broadcast media in particular was a strong suit … as well as her ability to manage social media platforms. I think both those things from my standpoint made her a very strong candidate.”

Yep, her background in broadcast media is a strong suit. Unless, of course, she’s making off the cuff comments following a feel-good news segment about zoo animals. Then it’s kind of weakness. They had to know about that, right?

But during her first day on the job, a story resurfaced about her previous employment at KOCO-TV, where she was known on-air as Alex Housden.

Last year, Reich compared how her black co-anchor, Jason Hackett, took selfie photos similar to a baby gorilla — an act she quickly apologized for on air the next day. Reich told the Telegram how important context was often left out when discussions regarding her comments first circulated…

“They weren’t (familiar with that context), and it was the darkest moment of my life for sure,” Reich said. “That’s why none of the commissioners knew about it. It doesn’t define me. I care very deeply for people. I’m not a racist, I don’t judge, and I just want to show kindness and love. It was just kind of heartbreaking today to hear that get brought up again.”

Wait. She didn’t tell them about the incident before she took the job!!!

Since she wanted to be hired, I guess you can’t totally blame her. I buy Alex’s apology and don’t think she was trying to be hurtful or mean with her comment. I chalk it up to stupidity more than anything, but that’s still a hard thing to explain in a job interview for a PIO gig:

“So, tell us about your time at Channel 5 in Oklahoma City?”

“It was great! I loved working there, made a bunch of friends, and outside of the time I made the stupid comment that my Black co-worker looked like a baby gorilla, I really enjoyed my time there.”

Here’s more:

Blackburn said he has spoken with Reich since being made aware of the story.

“She indicated that the incident did occur, and believes that the comments were taken out of context,” he said.

“She apologized the next day on air and regrets making those comments. I think she has moved on from those comments. She recognized that they were not appropriate and taken inappropriately, and apologized for doing so.”

Blackburn said the county will continue to review the matter.

“I have communicated all of this to the commissioners and we will review the matter further,” he said. Blackburn said

Did Alex really think nobody would connect the dots here? I say this as a guy who has written and said a bunch of stupid and controversial shit over the years – Don’t run away from your past. We have this thing called the Internet now that makes that borderline impossible. Acknowledge and own up to your mistakes, and if you’re really good, try to spin them so that you look like the victim! Sure, it may make it harder to open doors and get a nice, good-paying job, but when that finally happens, you won’t have to spend every day watching over your shoulder, worrying that your past is catching up with you.

Alex has learned that the hard way:

Bell County public information officer resigns

Bell County Judge Blackburn has accepted the resignation of Alex Reich as the Bell County public information officer, according to a news release from Blackburn.

Reich, who started the job on Monday, was the county’s first public information officer. The resignation is effective immediately.

“Last night Judge Blackburn emailed us and said that … (Reich) did send her letter of resignation,” Commissioner Russell Schneider told the Telegram. “Her letter was sent to the judge on Sept. 1 at like 8:40 a.m.”

That sucks for Alex, but it’s the risk you take when you’re not honest with your new employers.

Anyway, at least for now, I think we’ve answered: “What happened to Alex Housden at Channel 5?” If you have any other questions that you want us to try to answer, send us a news tip here.

Stay with The Lost Ogle. We’ll keep you advised.

Support Local Media

Help keep The Lost Ogle in business. Join the TLO Membership Club today for only $5 a month!

New Stuff

30 Responses

  1. “Jason is one of my best friends, who I had actually co-anchored with for many years,” Reich said. “We were talking about a story about a baby gorilla that was born at the zoo and how it takes close-up selfies. In the (segment) I said, ‘That looks like you when you take a picture.’ He starts laughing and says, ‘Yes, it’s very close up to the camera.’”

    Reich said Hackett is known for taking selfies that show close-ups of his face.

    “They weren’t (familiar with that context), and it was the darkest moment of my life for sure,” Reich said. “That’s why none of the commissioners knew about it. It doesn’t define me. I care very deeply for people. I’m not a racist, I don’t judge, and I just want to show kindness and love. It was just kind of heartbreaking today to hear that get brought up again.”

    Convenient how you left this part out…

    1. Almost as convenient as leaving out the entire story, for context or otherwise, when being considered for a new job.

  2. Meanwhile, Hackett still has his job at KOCO, and has grown into the role quite nicely. On the other hand, Housden’s lost two jobs in this same time frame. Karma always provides…..

  3. I am reminded of a Bible versus, which I think is in the Book Of Homer, that goes something like this:


  4. I have a friend who claims he looks like a dachshund. He actually does.
    We all kid him about it.
    Nobody gets pissed and nobody apologizes.

    Of course we are adults and have a sense of humor and don’t take ourselves oh so seriously.

    It must be exhausting to wake up each day searching for something to find offensive but it seems like a lot of folks do it.
    It is the national pastime.

    It’s a shame that so many lives have been ruined over what amounts to nothing.

    1. If you think it’s “nothing”, you’re a part of the problem.

      1. He can’t possibly be as clueless as he seems. That’s what trolls do.

        1. Graychin – you’re priceless….
          Bless your little heart

      2. Predictable response

        1. Read something about micro-aggressions and unconscious racial bias sometime, might make you a better person. Or you could still stay the racist POS you are, who knows…

    2. The biggest shame of all has got to be the young people who have actually
      committed suicide because of what has been said about them on social media.

    3. “It must be exhausting to wake up each day searching for something to find offensive but it seems like a lot of folks do it.
      It is the national pastime.”

      I often wonder how Trump ever got elected and I suspect that it has a little to do with how people subconsciously assumed that he’d be the better choice to provide that element of presidential entertainment that our culture has adopted over the years.
      It’s became more fun and exciting to dig up the dirt on public figures compared to hearing about their more seriously important achievements.

      I find myself doing it as well. I’ll turn on some news source out of curiosity and a craving for some exciting tidbit. One example is how I’ll check out YouTube occasionally to catch the latest on the Portland Protests.
      It only gets me thinking depressing thoughts.

      Whereas if I “Looked for the good” and got on track with trying to feed my mind with uplifting and optimistic thoughts, I’d probably be better off and have more appreciation for the good things life has to offer.

      Is there a culture or religion or something that effectively promotes that mindset of looking for the good?
      Beats me.

      1. You must be asleep by the end of every single newscast. Special 15 second spot at the end for something good that happened in America that day.
        Sometimes one worries only Scott Pruitt could ever fill the void after trump.

  5. Now I understand why Bell County needs a PIO…

  6. Unless there’s more to this story than I know, I genuinely believe that it was a mistake for her and she didn’t mean anything by it. I don’t think she’s a hidden racist, who let their true feelings slip out, I think she probably just made a mistake when joking with a colleague that she likely has no ill-feelings towards. I don’t think she should be shamed out of ever having a career in the future because of it.

    That said, the connotations of comparing a black person to a gorilla are significant. Sometimes, a slip is just so serious that it can’t just be waved away, and that’s one of them. There’s a lengthy and abusive history of comparison there that wouldn’t have existed if the last shot had just been an otter or something.

    1. Where the Lady really screwed up is simply not using the “new” method of covering your ass. Had she used proper protocols minimum of 60% of all Oklahomans would have gone to war for her.
      “I never said that.”
      But Ms. Housden it’s on tape.
      “No it’s not.”
      “I’m the most abused Newscaster in America.”

  7. I feel badly for Alex. My guess is that the on-air remark that got her in trouble was said without any malice, although it was an incredibly stupid thing to say. Probably it only reflected thoughtlessly the wider society and culture in which we white people all live.

    It is also my guess that Alex would still have been hired and kept her job if she had been up-front with Bell County about the past incident. Omitting that mention was a mistake that goes to character and credibility, and has nothing to do with alleged racism.

    1. Trying too hard buddy.

      1. Not feeding the troll anymore on this thread.

  8. It’s too bad, really. She seems like a nice enough person. But when you’re in the media eye – even in OKC – and make a dumb mistake, you’re going to have to live with it. And changing your “last” name used in the TV market at KOCO to your original name will never mask the conduct. So, had she been up front with the folks in Temple (Bell county) Ms. Reich may not have gotten the job as PIO but she would still have her integrity. Tragic, really. I hope she finds a good career path and learns from this experience.

  9. In today’s world, there are certain lines that cannot be crossed. This is one of them. I feel badly for her too and it seems unfair that one off-the-cuff remark can scuttle your career. But it did. Today’s equivalent of the scarlet letter.

  10. I don’t know what the answer is here. At some point, shouldn’t people be allowed to atone for their mistakes and move on? (And I don’t mean “make a public apology and reappear a little later.” I actually mean acknowledging harm done, atoning for it, and changing.)

    If so, what was she supposed to do? Accept her career death sentence? She recognized that no employer will touch her with a ten foot pole with her background. She even changed her name. And she was right. As for disclosing it to employer, did she really need to disclose something she wasn’t even fired for? And if the answer is yes, then, again, can we not be a little sympathetic to how she might feel frustrated at her career ending because of one mistake? (Sympathy isn’t finite. One can recognize and feel for black people suffering under white oppression for centuries and still have room to feel sympathy for others!)

    She certainly wasn’t the original victim, but this holier-than-thou nonsense is exhausting, particularly coming from white people.

  11. “Scarlet Letter”. That’s the God’s truth! Which leads me to ponder this question….wouldn’t Kelly Ogle make a damn near perfect Cotton Mather?

  12. Everybody is so on edge and judgmental nowadays. Common sense needs to make a comeback. I have a buddy that takes selfies like that too. I give her grief about it all the time so I understand her meaning.

    She was simply giving him a jab about the ridiculous looking selfies. If she was racist she would had not made that comparison, instead she would kept that hidden like the assholes of the world. I doubt the color of his skin came to mind at all.

    Instead of understanding people can make honest mistakes, we want to show how woke we are. Feels good to be righteous! She made her apology and if it was sufficient enough for the gentleman, then it should be good enough for all the rest.

  13. Common sense–avoid making baby gorilla comparisons.

  14. What Alex said was stupid but didn’t seem intentionally mean spirited. Should she never be allowed to get a job?

    1. Well, if she also weighs the same as a duck we must burn her immediately.

  15. All straight white women who are not politically correct should be assigned to re-education camps until they are cured.Zero tolerance repeat Zero tolerance.

    1. Following Q’s orders. Good boy!!!

  16. She meant what she said and said it with a smile on her face….however, she’s in luck….all she has to do is google the most racist city or town in America and go work there…I’m sure wherever that place is they will welcome her with open arms.

Comments are closed.

We encourage engaging with our content, however we ask that you follow our Comment Policy. Learn more.

Join the Club.

Become a Member

Help keep The Lost Ogle in business. Join the TLO Membership Club today for only $5 a month!

You may also like...