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PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh television station WTAE said it has ended its relationship with anchorwoman Wendy Bell over racial comments she posted on Facebook about an ambush shooting at a cookout that left five people and an unborn baby dead.

In a statement Wednesday, parent company Hearst Television said Bell’s comments were “inconsistent with the company’s ethics and journalistic standards.”

Bell, who is white, speculated about the identities of the two men who fatally shot five black people in the poor Pittsburgh suburb of Willkinsburg on March 9.

In her March 21 post on her anchor Facebook page, she said in part: “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 in their early 20s. 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.”

In the same post, she also praised a black restaurant worker in a way some readers felt was condescending.

After a social media backlash, Bell apologized, saying her words “were insensitive and could be viewed as racist.” The station also apologized, saying Bell’s remarks showed “an egregious lack of judgment.”

Authorities have not made any arrests in the killings or provided a description of the possible suspects. Siblings Jerry Michael Shelton, 35, Brittany Powell, 27, and Chanetta Powell, 25, along with two cousins, Tina Shelton, 37, and Shada Mahone, 26, were killed in the ambush shooting, police said. Chanetta Powell was nearly eight months pregnant.

On Wednesday, Bell defended herself, saying 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 told The Associated Press when reached at her home on Wednesday. “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.”

Bell joined WTAE in 1998 and has won 21 Emmy Awards.

Her post drew mixed reactions from viewers. Some saw her comments as offensive and called for her firing, while others said the comments were not racist and applauded her honesty. Facebook pages in support and opposition of Bell were created in the wake of the incident.

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(Photo Source: Wendy Bell Facebook)

31 thoughts on “UPDATE: TV Station ‘Ends Relationship’ With Anchor After Racist Online Post

  1. Glad she got fired. She should have kept her thoughts to herself. She is s racist. Any time you label someone (no matter what your race is ) you are a racist. But she will be back working in no time. She will get a job before a black person will. Just saying.

  2. MacBen on said:

    But she wasn’t lying tho! We all need to call it the way it is. She’ll get another job and at the end of the day- somebody black (the street knows who) did this to other black people. The words of a white woman did not. :/

  3. DannyHMabry on said:

    >>My best friend’s step-aunt makes $87 hourly on the computer using his Facebook Account. She has been out of work for nine months but last month her paycheck was $12968 just working on the computer for a few hours….!!
    >>>>>>>>>> Check This Special-Work-At-Home…

  4. Teresa Benson on said:

    She got exacted what she deserved. She looks tired and wants unemployment! Has no remorse for the families and if she has kids or never bares any, is her own fault! Negative, living off credit cards, racist!!

  5. i feel that you have the right to post whatever you want on facebook. it caused her to lose her job. Guess what she will get hired somewhere else. We as a nation, a race and Americans we can take something so small and make a mountain out of it.

    • You can’t “post what you want on facebook” when you’re posting using your employer’s page. From the fourth paragraph of the article: In her March 21 post on her anchor Facebook page

    • Teresa Benson on said:

      Bridget Widget whatever your name is need to realize that if it was so small why did she lose a big position! Your wearing glasses so obviously you can’t see. Little white folk like you think you can say anything you want but keep living BITCH(female Dog)I believe it means. Every dog has his day. Your is coming. You will feel the same hurt as those.parents!! Gal6:7 read it if you find your eyes!!

  6. So very sad, the emphasis placed on speculating the race, color, and social status of criminals and absolutely NO discussion about how we all have grown desensitized about the horror of the crime itself? Such a rich and vibrant country we live in, yet we still resort to such violent and heinous acts in the 21st Century. As a nation, we have lost our collective moral compass, our integrity, and compassion for the “love of life”. Maybe THAT is what this reporter was thinking, but failed to communicate?

    • If this duplicates, blame my browser.
      I agree with you with the following exception, what the reporter may have been thinking. I doubt that’s what she was thinking, if so, she wouldn’t have minimized it to the black populations. Heinous crimes such as these, people going on killing sprees, killing their entire family, shooting a school full of innocent children, a movie theater full of innocent people, and randomly shooting innocent people while driving through a city, would have also been included in her assessment of the world we live in today.

  7. She would have been paid well for this assessment had she been working as a forensic profiler. But since she held a job that required unbiased reporting and decorum, she got canned. She should apply for a job as a profiler. That way she can get paid for her talents. Otherwise, she has to stick to reporting the news and keep her comments/observations to herself. Bummer.

  8. …Guys, you never know…She may be “down with the brown”…Maybe, she is involved with a “Black man”…Maybe her “love and passion” for “our people” got the best of her and due to her “light complexion” cost her her job…I’m just saying.



    • Say what you want, there is a lot of truth in what she said. We as black people never seem to want to accept what is true about some of our own. Any time a white person says it we call them racists, when often they are realists. Her only fault was to post this online.

  10. Ms. Bell’s job was to report an unbiased crime/incident as she did during the news broadcast. Ms. Bell went so far as to make public her views on her anchor facebook page, which were clearly stereotypical. Apparently, Ms. Bell failed to understand how her words could affect the public’s perception of the network. For the network, it’s all about the dollars and cents. She was an expendable assets, meaning they could afford to lose her, but not the dollars of the “sponsors”, therefore, her appropriate dismissal from the station made bottom-line sense. Think before you speak, that includes what you write for public viewing.

  11. October 1 on said:

    The sad truth is, it was probably true. Many if not all crimes in the Black neighborhoods are committed by other black people.

    • Timothy Green on said:

      October most crimes are intra-racial, ie black on black & white on white, so while the fact that the perpetrators of this crime were likely black she went beyond stating that & made sterotype based comments

  12. blackspeak on said:

    When will white people learn they can’t state the obvious, when they hold prominent positions of respect and integrity in the public arena….?

  13. redbone1954 on said:

    After reporting on this horrible crime why did she feel the need to profile the people that did the crime? I don’t think that was necessary. And I guess her boss did not think so either. If they were white would she have called them trailer park trash? Would she have said that they drink Mountain Dew and that they sleep with their relatives? IJS

  14. Mrknowitall on said:

    Freedom from speech. This web sight should be shut down because of the racist articles, half truth and deception.

    • Maybe you don’t realize that “freedom of speech” only protect us from being arrested or serving jail time, but it does have other consequences, one being, losing your job, as in this case.

  15. I am glad she has been fired! White folks think they can continuously say and do things to black people in this country and get away with it; past and present behavior. The chickens do come home to roost at some point!

    I wouldn’t be surprised if she is also a Trump supporter.

  16. Kimboo on said:

    Some people just don’t know how to get out of their own wayyyyy
    You can’t just say or post anything, especially if your a journalist and your supposed to have some type of integrity about your words… White folks are CONTINOUSLY getting fired from these good “A” jobs, idiot!

  17. Linda on said:

    Good riddance!!!!!

    Folks in high profile positions as well as us average folks need to watch what they post on Facebook/Twitter etc.

    Your words may come back and bite you in the ass and cost you from obtaining a job or cost you the job you may already have!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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