Wendy Bell, an award-winning journalist with WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh for 18 years, was fired Wednesday for comments she made on her Facebook page.
The comments came after a mass shooting March 9 in Wilkinsburg in which police still have made no arrests, Bell wrote, on Facebook, “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 early 20s.
“They have multiple siblings from multiple fathers and their mothers work multiple jobs.”
“They are young black men, likely teens or in their early 20s,” she wrote in the now deleted post. “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.”
Hearst TV announced her firing late Wednesday.
“WTAE has ended its relationship with anchor Wendy Bell. Wendy’s recent comments on a WTAE Facebook page were inconsistent with the company’s ethics and journalistic standards.”
Bell told the Associated Press that she didn’t get a “fair shake” from the station, and that the story was not about her, but about “African-Americans being killed by other African-Americans.”
“It makes me sick,” she said. “What matters is what’s going on in America, and it is the death of black people in this country. … I live next to three war-torn communities in the city of Pittsburgh, that I love dearly. My stories, they struck a nerve. They touched people, but it’s not enough. More needs to be done. The problem needs to be addressed.”
Many said they would be switching stations because of Bell’s fired.
She also issued an apology on her Facebook page.
“I now understand that some of the words I chose were insensitive and could be viewed as racist. I regret offending anyone. I’m truly sorry.”