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Hubbard: KSTP will not apologize for #pointergate story

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Stanley Hubbard
Stanley Hubbard, chairman of Hubbard Broadcasting, speaks at Augsburg College Nov. 13, 2014.
Peter Cox / MPR News

Hubbard Broadcasting Chair Stanley Hubbard said Thursday that KSTP-TV would not apologize for a controversial story that claimed Mayor Betsy Hodges and a community activist flashed a gang sign at each other.

KSTP, which is owned by Hubbard Broadcasting, has been widely criticized for the report, which has sparked outrage in the Twin Cities and garnered national attention. The story has mockingly been referred to as #pointergate on social media.

More than 100 protesters gathered before a speech by Hubbard at Augsburg College in Minneapolis Thursday evening, and several went inside the auditorium to question Hubbard directly. 

While Hubbard took questions from the audience, a protester interrupted and asked if the station would give an on-air apology.

"No, of course not, that's ridiculous," Hubbard responded. 

Hubbard said the station reached out to the mayor's office and the community group Neighborhoods Organizing for Change two days before the story aired.

Retired police officer Michael Quinn said in the story that Hodges put police officers at risk with her gesture.

Hubbard said he stands by the station's reporting.

"I've known Jay Kolls to be a very straightforward, honest reporter," he said.

Previous coverage:
• #pointergate means spotlight, donations for small nonprofit
• Jon Stewart mocks #pointergate
• Explaining #pointergate: The missing context

Hubbard protest
Protesters gather at Augsburg College in Minneapolis prior to a speech by Stanley Hubbard, chair of Hubbard Broadcasting, Nov. 13, 2014.
Peter Cox / MPR News

Several protesters stood up during the talk, waving large red foam pointing fingers. The group shouted questions at Hubbard, who addressed many of them.

"We do not micromanage our news department," said Hubbard, who resumed his talk after the group left.

Hubbard's answer didn't sit well with Mica Grimm, a protester and student organizer for Minnesota Public Interest Research Group. 

"We were about to walk out and he actually asked us to stay and he engaged with us, which we didn't expect," she said. Still, she was unhappy with how he responded and that he stood by the story. "We know where we stand with him."