It was one of those stories I didn’t even want to click on.
Racist Facebook post.
Young Black men.
Before I gave in and read it a week or so ago, I could pretty much predict the way the controversy would play out.
What confuses me is why the racist rubes who perpetrate these social skills-less crimes cannot.
Exactly what part of the “social” in social media is confusing to folks? Was WTAE-TV news anchor Wendy Bell really operating under the delusion that she would be heralded as a hero for using Facebook as a platform for racial profiling?
I simply cannot believe anyone in the public eye who had spent damn near 20 years at her station would be so base as to behave like Ron Burgundy spliced with disgraced former police official Mark Furhman.
In case you’ve already moved on to the next public figure-slash-bigoted bigmouth, a TV-Spy enabled snippet still exists (despite efforts to edit it away) of Bell’s foolish philosophizing about the soulless state of young Black men. She was commenting on the shooting deaths of a family when she decided to try her hand at criminal profiling:
“I will tell you they live within 5 miles of Franklin Avenue and Ardmore Boulevard and have been hiding out since in a home likely much closer to that backyard patio than anyone thinks. 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. They’ve made the circuit and nothing has scared them enough. Now they are lost. Once you kill a neighbor’s three children, two nieces and her unborn grandson, there’s no coming back. There’s nothing nice to say about that.”
Indeed, clearly there wasn’t anything nice…scratch that, intelligent, to say but the latter didn’t stop Bell. And thanks to her sanctimonious social behavior, she went from talking about a story to being one. That epic arc culminated on Wednesday with her being fired and her presence summarily scrubbed from the profiles of her former employer.
Her station confirmed her exodus with a rather pat dismissal:
“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.”
If I might, I’ll add that her remarks were also inconsistent with common sense, human decency and a firm understanding of society. Too bad it took almost 20 years and an ill-advised post to make it clear she had no business on anyone’s air.
Kyra Kyles is the Vice President, Head of Digital Editorial aka she runs EBONY.COM and JETMag.com. You can get @ this digital diva on social media via thekylesfiles on Twitter or Facebook. Oh yeah, and feel free to send social media / tech etiquette questions and grievances to her via email@example.com. She just might tackle them for the next “Social Skills.”
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VP, Head of Digital Editorial