Wendy Bell was fired from her job as news anchor for Pittsburgh’s WTAE-TV on Wednesday after 18 years due to an “egregious lack of judgment” in posting racial stereotypes on social media.
“You needn’t be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts two weeks ago Wednesday,” Bell wrote on her official Facebook page following a mass shooting in Wilkinsburg near Pittsburgh in which police have yet to identify a suspect.
“They are young Black men, likely in their teens or early 20s,” she continued in the post that has since been removed. “They have multiple siblings from multiple fathers and their mothers work multiple jobs.”
Bell’s WTAE Facebook page has also been taken down, but her Twitter account remains open and doesn’t mention the firing.
Her last tweet, dated March 23, read, “I have removed a post that I initially placed here on Monday. I sincerely apologize for that post…" she wrote, adding the Facebook link to the now deleted page.
“It makes me sick,” Bell said after being fired.
“What matters is what’s going on in America, and it is the death of Black people in this country,” she added. “I live next to three war-torn communities in the city of Pittsburgh, that I love dearly. My stories, they struck a nerve. They touched people, but it’s not enough. More needs to be done. The problem needs to be addressed.”
Bell also said she felt she didn’t get a “fair shake” from the station she worked at for nearly two decades since the story was about “African-Americans being killed by other African-Americans” and not her.
Charles W. Wolfertz III, president and general manager of WTAE TV, made a public apology after Bell, a 22-time regional Emmy Award-winner, was fired.
“We at WTAE would like to apologize for the actions of one of our anchors earlier this week,” he said on-air March 24.
“Wendy Bell posted a message on her Facebook page that offended many of our viewers,” Wolfertz continued. “Her post offended us. Wendy has since apologized for what she wrote and acknowledged it was insensitive. Wendy is sorry for the words she chose, and so are we. It was an egregious lack of judgment.”
Twitter exploded with comments following her firing.
“There are good AND bad people in all races & income brackets,” one tweet read. “Unfortunately, society attributes so much to race NOT character.”
Another wrote, “She said nothing racist.”
(Photo: Wendy Bell via Facebook)