An anchor for Baltimore news station WJZ was fired for asking a question about the city’s leadership that many people found “racist” and “sexist.”
On May 2, anchorwoman Mary Bubala interviewed Loyola University Maryland professor Karsonya “Kaye” Wise Whitehead about a scandal involving Baltimore’s former mayor, Catherine Pugh.
Pugh resigned last month after she was accused of selling her children’s books, the Healthy Holly series, for hundreds of thousands of dollars to several companies and non-profits that had business ties to the city.
In her conversation with Whitehead, Bubala asked if there is a need for new leadership in Baltimore considering the last three mayors have been Black women.
“We’ve had three female, African-American mayors in a row,” Bubala began. “They were all passionate public servants. Two resigned, though. Is this a signal that a different kind of leadership is needed to move Baltimore City forward?”
The Baltimore Association of Black Journalists also called out Bubala for asking the racially incesitive question.
"This question implies race and gender are qualifiers in one's ability to lead while also demonizing African Americans and women as poor leaders," the organization said in a statement Monday. "We feel certain Bubala would not have asked this same question of white male leadership."
On Monday May 6, WJZ took down its promotional page for Bubala. By Tuesday, both WJZ and Bubala confirmed she was no longer an anchor for the network.
After WJZ announced she was no longer with the network, Bubala released her own statement and another apology for making the remark.
“Last week I realized I made a mistake in the language I used on air. I immediately apologized for any hurt I unintentionally caused. I received immediate support from WJZ, because they knew it was not in my heart to intentionally cause this kind of harm. I wanted to do an on-air apology, but was not allowed. I hope that the people of Baltimore know that I would never do anything to hurt anyone,” Bubala wrote in a statement to the Baltimore Sun.
“Unfortunately, I now stand in the path of the tornado. WJZ was forced to let me go. I am saddened and shocked by this decision. Baltimore City has been my home for 25 years and I treasure and am so grateful for the relationships I have made with the people of Baltimore during this time. I fully intend to fight to restore my reputation because I’ve invested my heart and soul in my work and my city. Thank you Baltimore for all of your support during this difficult period of time. It means so much to me.”