A former white Pittsburgh news anchor says she was fired from her job because of her race and is suing her former employer. NBC News reports that Wendy Bell filed a lawsuit against her former place of employment on March 30. She is accusing WTAE of violating her civil rights.
The station let Bell go after discovering comments she posted on her Facebook page that were deemed racially insensitive. In the post, Bell commented on the March 9 shooting of five Black people in Wilkinsburg, a poor Pittsburgh suburb.
“You needn’t be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts,” Bell wrote March 21. “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.”
Bell’s comments sparked backlash from some who took her statements as racist, but also drew support from those who found her post to be honest.
“Had Ms. Bell written the same comments about white criminal suspects or had her race not have been white, [the] 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.”
Before she got fired, Bell had been with WTAE since 1998.