It was hard not to be disturbed by the case of Rhonda Lee, a meteorologist who was reportedly fired by ABC affiliate KTBS in Shreveport, La. for defending her hairstyle.

Lee wrote a professional and thoughtful response to a viewer’s tactless critique of her hair, one that she believes was the catalyst for her firing. Lee said she was not made aware of the social media policy prohibiting her response. She claimed the policy was communicated to employers in a meeting she did not attend and was never documented.

Lee’s story was picked up by countless news outlets and she appeared on CNN and took calls from MSNBC and the “Tom Joyner Morning Show.”

Due to the publicity, KTBS issued an explanation for Lee’s firing, saying it was based on policy rather than her hairstyle. Their statement clearly contradicts Lee’s account of events, making this a case of their word against hers:

“On November 28, 2012, KTBS dismissed two employees for repeated violation of the station’s written procedure. We can confirm that Rhonda Lee was one of the employees. Another employee was a white male reporter who was an eight year veteran of the station. The policy they violated provided a specific procedure for responding to viewer comments on the official KTBS Facebook page. Included is an email that was sent to all news department employees informing them of this procedure. This procedure is based on advice from national experts and commonly used by national broadcast and cable networks and local television stations across the country.

“Unfortunately, television personalities have long been subject to harsh criticism and negative viewer comments about their appearance and performance. If harsh viewer comments are posted on the station’s official website, there is a specific procedure to follow.

“Ms. Rhonda Lee was let go for repeatedly violating that procedure and after being warned multiple times of the consequences if her behavior continued. Rhonda Lee was not dismissed for her appearance or defending her appearance. She was fired for continuing to violate company procedure.”

What do you think of KTBS’ statement defending Rhonda Lee’s firing? Do you still believe there was foul play?

  • http://tontonmichel.tumblr.com Tonton Michel

    Repeated violations, eh? Prove it, how many, when, where, what, and why? Better yet show the written reprimands.. Than will see.

  • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

    Employees break company policies all the time. If the company likes you then it will ignore it or just warn you. If they don’t like you and already want to get rid of you then they will use any opportunity to fire you.

    So, considering what she did really wasn’t a big deal, I suspect she was already on someone’s sh*t list. And that male employee probably was too.

  • http://gravatar.com/mimiandy1683 MimiLuvs

    If the reporters/staff of the channel cannot respond to any of the viewers’ inquiries on the station’s endorsed FB page, what is the got-dang point of having a FB page?

  • Native Gear

    I second that. She was given several warnings but still failed to comply. Very unprofessional. I’m glad they stated that they “white male” was fired too.

  • EST. 1986

    They stated that the White male was fired to quell the accusations of racism.

  • Beautiful mic

    She may have known very well that she violated company policy, but figured some publicity and public outrage might help land her next opportuniy.

  • KissTheDragon

    Bingo! I had the same thing happen to me.

  • KissTheDragon

    Don’t be fooled this is the same person replying to themselves.

  • 26

    I don’t believe this situation is about race or her hairstyle. She’s not the owner of the tv station’s FB page and should not have responded there without permission. Anytime a company is addressed publicly there is a protocol that has to be followed. Because she’s an employee of the tv station, responding on the tv station’s FB page is considered a response on behalf of the tv station. She didn’t have permission to do so. While I agree with what she said in her responses, she should have received permission from the tv station before responding on their FB page or found another way to address it.

  • r.j.

    in what U.S. do you live little- mind girl?

  • r.j.

    your mother should be ashamed to have reared you… wow!

  • Beautiful mic

    Why? Because I don’t always join the thought/opinion bandwagon?

    Or that people are not always as clueless as they profess?

    Or for considering more than one possibility?

  • Sammy

    Makes sense though i wish she wouldn’t have been fired. She doesn’t need to defend what God gave her – just let the beauty shine!

  • Tacoma23

    This article was intentionally misleading. The other articles mention a second time when she responded to facebook posts after being warned not to. It also doesn’t mention that this isn’t the first time she claims she claimed racism after being fired. Here is a link: http://thegrio.com/2012/12/12/reporter-fired-after-responding-to-racially-charged-facebook-comments-about-her-hair/#50188277

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