An award-winning veteran of Pittsburgh news station WTAE was fired from her post after 18 years for grossly stereotyping Black people as criminals with “multiple siblings and multiple fathers” in a racist Facebook entry.
Sign Up For Our Newsletter!
The message, which Wendy Bell posted after a shocking backyard massacre that left five dead — including a pregnant mother and her unborn child — in the Pittsburgh suburb of Wilkinsburg, described who she believed to be the suspect:
“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 in their teens or in their early 20s,” she posted on her Facebook.
“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.”
She then goes on to give praise to a young Black man who bussed tables at a restaurant she visited, saying the employee’s smile and hustle was a sign of “hope.” But Bell’s description of the young man, who she used to contrast her idea of who the shooter might be, was also laced with questionable language.
“But there is HOPE. And Joe and I caught a glimpse of it Saturday night,” she writes. “A young, African American teen hustling like nobody’s business at a restaurant we took the boys to over at the Southside Works…He wiped off the tables. Tended to the chairs. Got down on his hands and knees to pick up the scraps that had fallen to the floor. And he did all this with a rhythm and a step that gushed positivity. He moved like a dancer with a satisfied smile on his face,” Bell wrote.
Bell later apologized for her words in another Facebook post.
“I now understand that some of the words I chose were insensitive and could be viewed as racist. I regret offending anyone. I’m truly sorry.”
A statement released by Hearst Television, WTAE’s parent company, confirmed Bell’s termination:
“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.”
Bell has spoken out in the wake of her firing, telling the Associated Press the attention she’s getting is making her “sick,” adding that the story isn’t about her, but violence in African-American communities.
“It makes me sick,” she told The Associated Press when reached at her home on Wednesday. “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. 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.”
Bell’s Facebook page has since been taken down. Police have yet to make an arrest in the March 9 shooting she referenced in her original post.
And We Thought We Came So Far: The Most Racist Moments Of 2014
1. 2014’s Most Racist Moments1 of 24
2. Artie Lange’s Racist & Sexist Tweet2 of 24
3. Sephora Singles Out Asian Customers3 of 24
4. Twitter Racists Hate The “New Annie”4 of 24
5. People Magazine’s Lame HTGAWM Tweet5 of 24
6. ’12 Years A Slave’ Headlines That Hurt6 of 24
7. Fergson Protestors Labeled ‘Animals’7 of 24
8. Huffington Post’s Really Uncomfortable “Once You Go Black” List8 of 24
9. Ebola9 of 24
10. “Breathe Easy, Don’t Break The Law” Shirts10 of 24
11. Fraternity Uses Dark-Skinned Blow Up Doll As Beyonce Sex Doll11 of 24
12. Sony’s Racist Emails12 of 24
13. New Hampshire Police Commissioner Calls Obama The N-Word13 of 24
14. Racist Halloween Costumes14 of 24
15. Richard Sherman Gets Called a ‘Thug’ By Media15 of 24
16. Watermelon Toothpaste Cartoon Featuring Obama16 of 24
17. Shonda Rhimes Labeled “Angry Black Woman” By NYT17 of 24
18. Donald Sterling’s Rant18 of 24
19. Bill O’Reilly19 of 24
20. John Boyega Responds To Racist Star Wars Fans20 of 24
21. Don Lemon Being Don Lemon21 of 24
22. New York Times Called Michael Brown ‘No Angel’22 of 24
23. Booker T. Washington Walkout23 of 24
24. Racist Stripper Goes On ‘N-Word’ Rant24 of 24
SOURCE: Post-Gazette | VIDEO SOURCE: Inform | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty