Veteran Pittsburgh news anchor Wendy Bell, a WTAE-TV staple for 18 years, has been dismissed following a controversy that surrounds a racially charged Facebook post. Bell has since taken her Facebook page private, but not before WTAE’s parent company, Hearst Television, got wind of the situation.
The social media post in question addressed an early March mass shooting that killed five people. One victim was eight months pregnant, and her unborn child perished, as well. According to USA Today, Bell reportedly wrote that she didn’t see the need for a “criminal profiler” to determine who the perpetrators may be. Although police have apprehended no suspects, Bell added these unfortunate statements about who she thinks committed the massacre:
“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.”
After reviewing Bell’s posting and taking action, Hearst Television issued a very brief statement to explain Bell’s firing:
“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.”
ABC News details Bell’s reaction to her firing, and she reportedly feels she hasn’t received “a fair-shake” from her employer. Bell concedes that she was expressing frustration at the situation, but she also expresses love for the city of Pittsburgh and apologizes for her insensitivity. In the aftermath of Bell’s dismissal, the #YoungBlackMen hashtag began to trend on Twitter.