Veteran WTAE Pittsburgh anchor Wendy Bell was fired from her job for using racial stereotypes after a mass killing.
After backlash over a recent Facebook post in which she used racially disparaging language to talk about “young black men,” Bell was terminated on March 30, reports The Wrap.
Her racially charged comments were posted on the station's official Facebook page after six were killed in a mass shooting in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, on March 9 and before police made any arrests.
Bell wrote this comment on March 21:
“You needn’t be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts. They are young black men, likely in their teens or early 20s. They have multiple siblings from multiple fathers and their mothers work multiple jobs. These boys have been in the system before. They’ve grown up there. They know the police. They’ve been arrested. They’ve made the circuit and nothing has scared them enough. Now they are lost. Once you kill a neighbor’s three children, two nieces and her unborn grandson, there’s no coming back. There’s nothing nice to say about that.”
Bell had worked with WTAE for 18 years, but did not survive the consequences of her rant on the station’s Facebook account speculating about the suspects of a then-unsolved murder.
The station’s owner, Hearst Television, said in a statement, “WTAE has ended its relationship with anchor Wendy Bell. Wendy’s recent comments on a WTAE Facebook page were inconsistent with the company’s ethics and journalistic standards.”
WTAE President and General Manager Charles Wolfertz aired a public apology for what he described as Bell’s “egregious lack of judgement.”
On March 30, Bell apologized for comments that she admitted “were insensitive and could be viewed as racist,” according to USA Today. Bell told The Associated Press, she wasn't given a "fair-shake" from the station.
“It makes me sick,” she said. “What matters is what’s going on in America, and it is the death of black people in this country."