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Jun 20 2016

Bell files suit against Hearst

The Post-Gazette reports today Wendy-Bell-jpgthat former WTAE evening anchor Wendy Bell has filed suit against the station and Hearts Broadcasting after being fired in March for a controversial Facebook post.

The suit alleges that Bell was fired without cause and her employer encouraged her to use social media in her work. She is also asking for her job back, back pay, attorney fees and that Hearst not be able to discriminate or retaliate against her. Furthermore, the suit includes claims for race discrimination.

The flap began when Bell wrote a Facebook post in March about the March 9 Wilkinsburg shooting in which 6 people were killed. She stated, “you needn’t be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts two weeks ago…they are young black men, likely in their teens or early 20s.” In the same post she wrote about witnessing and admiring the work of an African-American male at a restaurant on the South Side.

The post stirred up controversy and many called for Bell to be fired. Still though there was a contingent who praised Bell for being unafraid to speak what she felt.

Meanwhile the suit also alleges that Hearst had previously chosen to ignore apparent negative behavior by other high-profile anchors.

Bell has since started her own Facebook Fan page which has garnered just about as many followers as she had with the station-related page.

3 comments

  1. David Sassic

    Good luck Ms Bell, you need to stand up for what’s right. All WTAE needed to do was post thet the comments made were yours and did not reflect the views of the station. If Andrew Stockey would have posted that, it would not have been an issue. I’m a 63yo veteran and I am tired of this idea that we cannot have OUR OWN opinions without someone else telling us that it’s ok. As as communicator (WPXI 18yr.) I am disgusted with the idea that we have to be PC in everything we do! I know in broadcasting we must have stories approved by LEGAL to protect aghanst LIABILITY, but doesn’t apply to PERSONAL Opinions! David Sassic (CapnDave)

  2. Carson

    The Washington Post has a very interesting story about this (not sure if it is OK to post links here).

    Apparently her attorney’s strategy is to get Hearst to settle by claiming that she was treated differently than other WTAE employees who committed disciplinary infractions. The article alludes to two juicy incidents. His plan apparently is to empty all of the dirt out of the HR closet in open court. I bet they settle before it comes to that.

  3. Vic

    One of the “juicy” incidents is the time Guy Junker was charged with propositioning an undercover police officer. He wasn’t even working for Hearst then. Junker isn’t a big enough player at WTAE that Hearst will care if his personal embarrassment winds up in public again.

    As for the first poster, she made the comments on a FB page set up by the station.

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