A white female reporter is suing WTAE-TV. Wendy Bell had been with the station for 18 years and in that time, she won 18 Emmys. The station fired her after she made a post on her social media account, commenting about the killing of 5 black men, saying that you didn’t have to stretch too far to know it was committed by other black men.
“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 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.”
In the same posting, she praised a black restaurant worker but even that was considered racist by local black activists. Many people criticized her for posting on the subject, but many more are defending her for writing the truth. She later apologized if anything she wrote appeared to be racist but the station fired her nine days later, saying her comments were a bad reflection on their station. To make it worse, they claimed that she has a no compete clause that prevents her from getting another job in Pittsburgh for at least another year.
Bell was fired nine days later after WTAE determined her remarks violated the company’s journalism and ethics standards.
In an interview with The Associated Press on the day she was fired, Bell said she did not get a “fair shake” from the station, and that the focus on her comments was a distraction from the issue of “African-Americans being killed by other African-Americans.”
Sam Cordes, Bell’s lawyer, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Bell is still searching for a job, but the situation is complicated because WTAE-TV management told her that she had a noncompete clause in her original contract that ran through March 30, 2017.
“This was not easy for her and has not been,” Mr. Cordes said.
Bell is demanding back pay, punitive damages and her old job.