A newscaster fired after her comments in a Facebook post about a shooting were deemed racially insensitive sued her former employer on Monday, saying the television station let her go because she is white.Ah...so that settles it.
Wendy Bell said her federal lawsuit that Pittsburgh-based WTAE fired her on March 30 "because of her race," violating her civil rights.
"Had Ms. Bell written the same comments about white criminal suspects or had her race not have been white, Defendant would not have fired her, much less disciplined her," the lawsuit reads. "Ms. Bell's posting of concern for the African-American community stung by mass shooting was clearly and obviously not intended to be racially offensive."
You can find the lawsuit here.
In the section section of the lawsuit, one that lays out all Bell's side of the argument. She's praised by TAE for being such a good egg, having a great connection with her audience and so forth.
Then there's this:
8. Bell’s work and reputation in Defendant’s target audience area was so good that Defendant encouraged Ms. Bell to use social media to communicate with that target audience. Indeed, in Defendant’s last formal performance appraisal of Ms. Bell, Defendant noted she has “launched a Facebook page for her work at the station and “this has proven to be a great platform for her.” According to Defendant, Ms. Bell “is very good about engaging her audience [on that Facebook page]”And:
11. As part of her duties as a reporter and anchor, Defendant encouraged Ms. Bell to communicate over social media about the stories she covered.And the rest, as they say, is history.
The basis of the lawsuit, as far as I (a notorious non-lawyer) can tell is found in these three paragraphs:
21. Defendant consistently downplays misconduct by similarly situated reporters and anchors because of their race or gender.Basically, it's a "they did bad stuff and they weren't fired!" argument
22. For example, Defendant’s African American Sports Director, and 5 p.m. news anchor, Andrew Stockey was not disciplined at all for making lewd comments to interns, conduct that resulted in the termination of Defendant’s internship program in its news department.
23. Another reporter, Guy Junker, was arrested for propositioning an undercover police officer, an arrest that caused significant undue publicity, and was “inconsistent with [Defendant’s] ethics.” Defendant did not even discipline Junker, much less fire him.
For the record Junker was arrested in 1998. Ands there's no supporting evidence other than Bell's assertion in her lawsuit against TAE about Stockey's "lewd comments" I'll leave it up to you to decide whether they can be trusted.
BTW, here's Bell working with Andrew Stockey. This was about 6 years ago, by the way:
She offered up an apology then:
“The other night, I made an off-the-cuff comment to my co-anchor, Andrew Stockey, after one of our news stories,” she said in a statement. “The words I said didn’t come out the right way, and as such, offended some of you, which leaves me deeply troubled. I would never want to offend ANYONE, as my words clearly did. I hope you will accept my sincere apology.”Yea this is going to be interesting.