TV Anchor Fired Over Facebook Post Stereotyping ‘Young Black Men’

Longtime WTAE Pittsburgh anchor Wendy Bell was removed from her position for using racial stereotypes after a mass killing

Pittsburgh news anchor Wendy Bell was fired Wednesday from ABC affiliate WTAE after outcry over a recent Facebook post in which she used racially stereotypical language in talking about “young black men.”

Bell had been associated with WTAE for 18 years but could not withstand the outcry over her rant on the station’s own social media account speculating on the perpetrators of a then-unsolved murder.

“WTAE has ended its relationship with anchor Wendy Bell,” Hearst Television, the station’s owner, said in a statement. “Wendy’s recent comments on a WTAE Facebook page were inconsistent with the company’s ethics and journalistic standards.”

Bell was pulled off the air last week and WTAE president and general manager Charles Wolfertz aired a public apology for what he then called Bell’s “egregious lack of judgment.”

The controversial comments were posted after a mass shooting in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, in which six people were killed — but before police had made any arrests. “You needn’t be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts,” Bell wrote. “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. These boys have been in the system before. They’ve grown up there. They know the police. They’ve been arrested. They’ve made the circuit and nothing has scared them enough. Now they are lost. Once you kill a neighbor’s three children, two nieces and her unborn grandson, there’s no coming back. There’s nothing nice to say about that.”