The Crusader Newspaper Group

Anchor fired after Facebook post stereotyping black people

By Christopher Brennan,

A Pittsburgh news anchor has been fired after stereotyping black people as criminals in a personal Facebook post.

Wendy Bell, who had been with WTAE for 18 years, was booted from the station Tuesday after anger over her making racial assertions about the unidentified suspects behind a shooting.

“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.

Screen capture of Wendy Bell's original Facebook post.
Screen capture of Wendy Bell’s original Facebook post.

“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 contrasted the hypothetical suspects with a black restaurant worker who she said “gushed positivity” while picking up scraps of food from the floor.

The regional Emmy winner was pulled off the air last week, and apologized by saying that her comments “could be viewed as racist.”

Her station said that her words offended them, and called the decision to post them an “egregious lack of judgment.”

In announcing her firing, parent company Hearst Television said that the comments were “inconsistent with the company’s ethics and journalistic standards.”

Bell said Wednesday night that she did not get a “fair shake” in the situation, and the story was about “African-Americans being killed by other African-Americans.”

The station's president said that the post, about a shooting that killed five people, showed an "egregious lack of judgement."
The station’s president said that the post, about a shooting that killed five people, showed an “egregious lack of judgement.”

The anchor’s s original post referenced a backyard shooting in the poor Pittsburgh suburb of Wilkinsburg earlier this month where five people, all black, including a woman eight-months pregnant were mowed down by gunfire during a cookout.

Cheron Shelton was questioned about the massacre during his arrest for gun possession last Friday, according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, though the 29-year-old has not been charged in the case.


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