In March, Wendy Bell, a Pittsburgh news anchor wrote a Facebook post that she claimed was a heartfelt call to action on the perceived black-on-black crime epidemic in the U.S. Her TV station later fired her for that post. She’s fighting back with a discrimination lawsuit.
“You needn’t be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts two weeks ago Wednesday,” Bell wrote in the post. “… 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.”
“It will be some time before I forget the smile that beamed across that young worker’s face—or the look in his eyes as we caught each other’s gaze,” Bell continued in her post. “I wonder how long it had been since someone told him he was special.”
Now that the network has fired her, Bell is fighting back and says she was discriminated against.
“Had an African-American journalist said the same thing, it wouldn’t have generated the same quote-outcry-unquote,” her attorney, Sam Cordes, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “What she said was benign at best. President Obama has said similar things.”
The lawsuit says WTAE-TV of violating the Civil Rights Act.
“Had Ms. Bell written the same comments about white criminal suspects or had her race not been white, Defendant would not have fired her, much less disciplined her,” the suit alleges.
Bell wants back pay and attorney fees, as well as her job back.