Social media can land employees in a heap of trouble, and meteorologist Rhonda A. Lee found that truth out firsthand. Ms. Lee lost her job at KTBS-TV, an ABC affiliate in Shreveport, La. when she responded to a Facebook post criticizing her short afro.

The post read as follows via Journal-isms:

On Oct. 1, a viewer identified as Emmitt Vascocu wrote, “the black lady that does the news is a very nice lady.the only thing is she needs to wear a wig or grow some more hair. im not sure if she is a cancer patient. but still its not something myself that i think looks good on tv. what about letting someone a male have waist long hair do the news.what about that (cq).”

Lee replied the same day, “Hello Emmitt–I am the ‘black lady’ to which you are referring. I’m sorry you don’t like my ethnic hair. And no I don’t have cancer. I’m a non-smoking, 5’3, 121 lbs, 25 mile a week running, 37.5 year old woman, and I’m in perfectly healthy physical condition.

“I am very proud of my African-American ancestry which includes my hair. For your edification: traditionally our hair doesn’t grow downward. It grows upward. Many Black women use strong straightening agents in order to achieve a more European grade of hair and that is their choice. However in my case I don’t find it necessary. I’m very proud of who I am and the standard of beauty I display. Women come in all shapes, sizes, nationalities, and levels of beauty. Showing little girls that being comfortable in the skin and HAIR God gave me is my contribution to society. Little girls (and boys for that matter) need to see that what you look like isn’t a reason to not achieve their goals.

“Conforming to one standard isn’t what being American is about and I hope you can embrace that.

“Thank you for your comment and have a great weekend and thank for watching.”

Vascocu replied that Lee was right to be proud of who she is and that he is not a racist, but “. . . this world has . . . certain standerd (cq). if youve come from a world of being poor are you going to dress in rags?. . .”

Though Lee’s response seems professional and mature given the nature of Vascocu’s criticism, she was reprimanded by her employer and subsequently fired. It’s even more puzzling that KTBS-TV could not reference a documented rule that Ms. Lee was in violation of: “I had a meeting with my ND [news director] and GM [general manager] Friday trying to get my job back,” Lee said. “They told me the policy I violated isn’t written down, but was mentioned in a newsroom meeting about a month-and-a-half prior. A meeting I didn’t attend. So when I asked what rule did I break there isn’t anything to point to.”

Lee cites racism as the impetus behind her firing, and says she’s experienced it regularly since becoming a meteorologist as “weather is [a] white boy business.” Be that as it may, she shouldn’t have to fight off racist attacks from viewers, and certainly not from her employer.


What do you think of Rhonda Lee’s experience, Clutchettes? Should she have responded? Is KTBS-TV justified for firing her?

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  • Yb

    F*ck KTBS-TV and the idiot who made that comment.

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    • Billy Paul

      This is yet another example as to why one should not engage in a truth campaign. There are real tangible rewards to be garnered, which leaves those that are intangible and ambiguous. This particular Colored women may have won that particular battle only to have lost the war. However, I wish her the best and hoes that she continues to wear her beautiful hairdo.

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  • Ako

    So when that fat white lady responded to a viewer who wrote in a few months ago the entire nation got behind her right to be fat and unhealthy. Rhonda A. Lee responded in a more tactful, articulate manner and she gets fired?!?! She only responded on Facebook that fat white woman got a damn segment on her station to address her critic.

    Complete.Bull#$%^!

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    • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

      OMG this! So a white woman can fight back with words and a buckets of tears on anti-bullying concerning her weight to defend her image but Mrs.Lee can’t fight back concerning her natural hair..WTF? Sighs but I am not surprise I hope she gets a lawyer and sued their @ss.

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    • http://twitter.com/alexmac84 Alexandra MacArthur (@alexmac84)

      There’s no reason to ignite the words of the “fat lady’s” harassers and fat phobics to make your point. It’s not the white newscaster who is bothering you anyway, it’s the way that people have reacted differently to these two scenarios – and it’s an important observation you made. But you shouldn’t belittle the first lady for defending herself, the problem is that both women should have gotten this opportunity. We need to petition this!

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    • nikki

      Since the woman responding to the criticism of her weight did it on air I am assuming she got the permission of the station manager and the higher ups. I am not sure this is the case for the woman in this story. Not saying that firing her is okay but had she gone through the proper channels with her bosses this may have been avoided and she could have also addressed the issue.

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    • SS25

      Save that petition sh#t!! Ms Lee was more tactful than the FAT white lady and I hope sue them for millions.

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    • TheBestAnonEver, Part 3

      Of course you will defend the white lady and diminish how we feel. GTFOOHWBS!

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    • cupcakes and shiraz

      Typical white feminist- downplay the racism while complain about your own plight. #GTFO

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    • Janae

      Ahh yes cupcakes and shiraz, your anger is feeding the machine. Let’s continue to divide and conquer women for the sake of the patriarchy.

      I believe the previous poster was upset about perceived “fat shaming” not some sort of white vs black preference.

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    • cupcakes and shiraz

      @Janae- White feminists chose the divide by their selfish actions. Why do you think so many women of colour refuse to ally themselves with the likes of mainstream feminists and either choose to identify as either womanist or not a feminist at all? So put the blame where it belongs.

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    • Dave

      @ cupcakes and shiraz

      She didn’t downplay the racism, she acknowledged the observation of its existence while defending both women in each case mentioned. If anything, you are belittling the white woman’s grievance and prioritizing your own…which is both divisive and dismissive (dear, I even say ‘selfish’) and the point of her comment in the first place.

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    • cupcakes and shiraz

      Dave,

      Obviously you haven’t been around enough white feminists to know how truly irritating and one-dimensional they are. I don’t trust anything they say or do because it all boils down to *only* their agenda. She might mean well, but they’re all snakes in the grass and not to be trusted. So let’s just agree to disagree, k?

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    • Dave

      Whatever your views on white feminists are, they are are irrelevant to the legitimacy of her comment, the correctness of her point, and the hypocrisy of your response. We are not in disagreement because quite simply you are having a completely different conversation.

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    • cupcakes and shiraz

      No Dave,

      It’s unfortunate that your only solution to this debate is to call me a “hypocrite” or “selfish” because really don’t have anything substantial to add to the conversation- it’s childish, really. Also, what you think of me is quite irrelevant, as you’re nothing but an anonymous face behind a computer monitor.

      The fact is that Alexandra derailed the conversation about the injustice of Ms. Lee’s firing (and the inequity of the media industry) by complaining about how Ako called another reporter “fat”. Derailing is a typical white feminist response to anything that has to do with race. Obviously, you don’t see that and don’t care to, so that’s pretty much on you, not me. Have a good day.

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    • Dave

      This comment appears below, re-posting here to avoid confusion:

      Cupcakes, you are clearly having a failure to comprehend the point of her comment and how your response has done exactly what you have (falsely) criticized her of doing. At this point, I have to question whether you are actually reacting to what was said or the whiteness of the person who said it.

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    • Billy Paul

      Actually, the “fat white lady” is a member of a powerful group and Ms. Lee is not. Indeed, individualism is a concept only miseducated Coloreds believe in.

      We are a subjugated group (not matter what our dear president would have us to believe) and other groups know this fact and act accordingly.

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    • Dave

      You are clearly having a failure to comprehend the point of her comment and how your response has done exactly what you have (falsely) criticized her of doing. At this point, I have to question whether you are actually reacting to what was said or the whiteness of the person who said it.

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    • Dave

      @ cupcakes and shiraz (not Billy Paul)

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  • Apple

    Lawyer up

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  • Rakel

    Love her hair, and her response (especially about her contribution to society). She was tactful and not disrespectful at all. I hope she gets her job back. Better yet, I hope she gets an even better one.

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  • Anthony

    She needs to sue the hell out of those @$$holes!

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