A former reporter in Kansas says she was suspended from her job at a news station after sharing an article about white women’s privilege to her Facebook page.
Lisa Benson Cooper, who was already filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against KSHB-TV for racial discrimination, shared a May 7 article for The Guardian called “How white women use strategic tears to silence women of colour.”
The article explored how white women victimize themselves when challenged by women of color. The article’s writer, Ruby Hamad, heard about Cooper’s suspension and used her platform on Twitter to bring awareness to her situation, reported the Kansas City Star.
“On May 9th, Lisa shared this piece I wrote for The Guardian, about a common but only recently voiced phenomenon where WoC who raise issues about race & their mistreatment esp. at work are punished by white women who claim the WoC is ‘attacking’ them,” Ruby Hamad tweeted Monday.
“Lisa shared this piece on her PERSONAL Facebook page which is set to private. Two white female colleagues saw her post,” Hamad tweeted. “They contacted HR.”
Hamad went on to say how Cooper was suspended two days later for making “broad, unfair characterizations of white women as a group based on their race and gender.”
On June 13, Cooper revealed she was no longer a reporter for 41 Action News.
“I want you to know, I did not quit my job 41 Action News — KSHB-TV,” she wrote on Facebook. “I was suspended for sharing a meme & a Guardian US article on my personal FB page and subsequently told I ‘shall not report to work’ for the duration of my contract.”
KSHB, a Scripps company, has denied Benson’s allegations of discrimination.
“We can confirm that, in line with its contractural rights, KSHB did not renew Lisa Benson’s contract,” News Director Carrie Hofmann said. “We cannot comment on pending litigation. We stand by our commitment to diversity and inclusion in our workplace.”
Cooper’s lawsuit, which was moved to federal court from Jackson County Circuit Court, also alleged her race was “constantly used” in deciding which stories she would cover. She said she was consistently assigned to urban core stories and was once sent alone to interview a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
KSHB sports reporter Demetrice “Dee” Jackson also sued the station this year for race discrimination, contending he was twice passed over for sports director after management led him to believe he would get that job.