Wendy Bell says she was fired because she is white. The former WTAE anchorwoman has filed a lawsuit claiming she would not have been fired for allegedly making “racist” comments if the victims in the killings had been white. Bell was terminated after she authored a Facebook post in March about a shooting that left five black people dead in Pittsburgh.
The WTAE anchorwoman is an award-winning journalist, the Daily Mail reports. Hearst Television, the parent company of the Pittsburgh news station, said the comments Wendy Bell made about the murders were “inconsistent with the company’s ethics and journalistic standards.”
— Pittsburgh PG (@PittsburghPG) June 20, 2016
Below is an excerpt from Wendy Bell’s racism lawsuit.
“Had Ms. Bell written the same comments about white criminal suspects or had her race not have been white, Defendant would not have fired her, much less disciplined her. Ms. Bell’s posting of concern for the African-American community stung by mass shooting was clearly and obviously not intended to be racially offensive.”
The WTAE anchorwoman is suing for punitive damages and back pay, and she expresses a desire to get her old job back at the Pittsburgh television station, NBC News reports.
Here’s an excerpt from the viral Facebook post that caused Wendy Bell to lose her job at WTAE.
“You needn’t be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts two weeks ago Wednesday. They are young black men, likely teens or in their 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.”
Bell also went on to compare and contrast the “young black men” who killed four innocent people with the black teenager she had recently seen bussing tables at a local restaurant. The WTAE news host said the latter teenager would “make it” and heralded his work ethic.
Wendy Bell also wrote that she wondered how long it had been since someone had told the black teen bus boy that “he was special.”
— Pittsburgh PA (@PittsburghPArr) June 21, 2016
The victims of the Pittsburgh shootings Wendy Bell was referencing were all from the same family. The victims included siblings Jerry Michael Shelton, 35; Brittany Powell, 27; and Chanetta Powell, 25. Their two cousins, Tina Shelton, 37, and Shada Mahone, 26, were also victims. Chanetta Powell was almost eight months pregnant when she was gunned down in the street.
According to reports from the Pittsburgh police, the five victims were killed in an “ambush shooting.”
Wendy Bell has consistently defended her comments after Facebook post about the shooting. The WTAE anchorwoman maintains she did not get a “fair shake” from station officials. She said the story was not intended to focus on her, but on “African Americans being killed by other African Americans.”
“It makes me sick. What matters is what’s going on in America, and it is the death of black people in this country. I live next to three war-torn communities in the city of Pittsburgh, that I love dearly,” Bell said during an interview with the Associated Press. “My stories, they struck a nerve. They touched people, but it’s not enough. More needs to be done. The problem needs to be addressed.”
Wendy Bell joined WTAE in 1998. During her time at the station, she won 21 Emmy Awards.
What do you think of the Wendy Bell Facebook post and the claims of racism she raises in her lawsuit against WTAE?
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