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Wendy Bell Lawsuit: White TV Anchor Wants Her Job Back

Image: Wendy Bell Lawsuit: White TV Anchor Wants Her Job Back
 (WTAE)

By    |   Tuesday, 21 Jun 2016 12:16 PM

Wendy Bell has sued to be reinstated at WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh after being fired for a racially-charged Facebook post. Bell, who is white, charges racial discrimination.

Bell, a news anchor at the television station, charged race discrimination against Hearst Stations in her firing, reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The firing centered on comments Bell made two weeks after a March 9 shooting that killed six people in Wilkinsburg, a mostly black neighborhood in Pittsburgh, per the Post-Gazette.

"You needn't be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts two weeks ago ... they are young black men, likely in their teens or early 20s," Bell wrote on WTAE-TV's Facebook page, according to the Post-Gazette.

In the same post, she wrote about a young African-American employee at a restaurant, adding, "I wonder how long it has been since someone told him he was special."

Samuel J. Cordes, Bell's attorney, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Monday that Bell would not have been fired over the comments if she not been white and the station violated the Federal Civil Rights Act for doing so.

"Had an African-American journalist said the same thing, it wouldn't have generated the same quote-outcry-unquote," Cordes told the newspaper. "What she said was benign at best. President Obama has said similar things."

The lawsuit stated that Bell was fired on March 30, the same day the station management met with members of the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, a local affiliate of the National Association of Black Journalists, noted the Tribune-Review.

Federation leaders, though, told the newspaper that they did not meet with management until after Bell's firing was announced and never called for the station to terminate her.

"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," stated the lawsuit, according to the Tribune-Review, adding that the station did not take action against a black staffer who was accused of making lewd comments to interns and a white staffer arrested for propositioning an undercover police officer.

According to the Post-Gazette, Bell is also asking for back pay, attorney fees and assurances that Hearst would not discriminate or retaliate against her.

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Wendy Bell has sued to be reinstated at WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh after being fired for a racially-charged Facebook post. Bell, who is white, charges racial discrimination.
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2016-16-21
Tuesday, 21 Jun 2016 12:16 PM
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