Former WTAE-TV news anchor Wendy Bell was terminated Wednesday for posting controversial slurs to her Facebook page.
A statement from the station’s parent company, Hearst Television said, “WTAE has ended its relationship with anchor Wendy Bell,” according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The statement affirmed that Bell’s recent comments on her social media site were inconsistent with the company’s ethics and journalistic standards.
Bell reportedly stated that the brutal shootings that occurred in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, in early March were committed by “young Black men,” before any charges were made, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The former anchor’s Facebook post stated, “You didn’t need to 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.”
Bell, an award-winning journalist with WTAE-TV for 18 years, told the Associated Press that she didn’t get a “fair shake” from the station, and that the post had no relation to her but was about “African-Americans being killed by other African-Americans,” she said. “It makes me sick,” she told The Associated Press. “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.”
The former anchor joined the station in 1998 and has won 21 regional Emmy Awards. After a Florida vacation, she returned to work at Channel 4 but never returned to air. Station officials fired her in a meeting and later informed the rest of the news staff. A public apology from the station was issued last week, citing Bell’s “egregious lack of judgment” in posting racial stereotypes on her official Facebook page.