Monday, November 21, 2016

Judge OKs Suit By Ex-TV Anchor Fired After Online Remarks

Wendy Bell
A federal judge has ruled that former WTAE Pittsburgh PA news anchor Wendy Bell can proceed with her lawsuit against the television station and its parent company.

According to, U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy on Friday denied an attempt by Hearst Stations Inc. to dismiss the lawsuit, according to court documents filed in federal court in Pittsburgh.

WTAE fired Bell for an online comment she posted using a company Facebook account following the March 9 massacre of five people and an unborn child in a backyard barbecue ambush in Wilkinsburg.

Bell speculated in the post about the race and family background of the shooters and contrasted that profile with her recent encounter with a black busboy.

The company fired her March 30.

In a post that was later edited, then deleted from a Facebook fan page, Bell wrote: “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 teens or in their early 20s. They have multiple siblings from multiple fathers and their mothers work multiple jobs.”

The post, the company's delayed reaction and Bell's subsequent firing drew widespread public criticism on social media.

Bell sued the station in June, claiming racial discrimination. She claimed through her attorney that she wouldn't have been fired for her comments if she were not white.

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