Wendy Bell, a television anchor who worked for WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh, filed a lawsuit against her employer claiming she was wrongfully terminated and alleging it was all because of her race – which is white.
Bell, in a federal suit, said she was fired on March 30 “because of her race,” Fox News reported.
Station managers, meanwhile, said they fired her because of comments she posted on her Facebook page about criminal suspects that seemed racially insensitive in nature.
Her comments, about a March 9 shooting of five blacks in the poorer section of Pittsburgh: “You needn’t be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts. 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 [for other crimes].”
So far, nobody’s been arrested for those shootings.
But her comments caused a backlash, and the station, seeking to tamp down accusations of her discriminatory views, fired her.
But Bell said her First Amendment rights were violated not because of the nature of the comments, but because she was a white woman making them – and that if she had been a different race, she wouldn’t have been fired for the same reason.
“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 read, in part. “Ms. Bell’s posting of concerns for the African-American community stung by mass shooting was clearly and obviously not intended to be racially offensive.”
Bell hopes to win back pay and punitive damages, as well as her job at the television station.