AP, March 31, 2016
Pittsburgh television station WTAE said it has ended its relationship with anchorwoman Wendy Bell over racial comments she posted on Facebook about an ambush shooting at a cookout that left five people and an unborn baby dead.
In a statement Wednesday, parent company Hearst Television said Bell’s comments were “inconsistent with the company’s ethics and journalistic standards.”
Bell, who is white, speculated about the identities of the two men who fatally shot five black people in the poor Pittsburgh suburb of Willkinsburg on March 9.
In her March 21 post on her anchor Facebook page, she said in part: “You needn’t be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts two weeks ago Wednesday. . . . 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.”
In the same post, she also praised a black restaurant worker in a way some readers felt was condescending.
After a social media backlash, Bell apologized, saying her words “were insensitive and could be viewed as racist.” The station also apologized, saying Bell’s remarks showed “an egregious lack of judgment.”