Former news anchor sues WTAE for firing her based on race

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Former News Anchor Sues WTAE for Firing Her Based on Race

Wendy Bell, a former Pittsburgh news anchor, is suing station WTAE for allegedly firing her because of her race.

Following a shooting that killed five people at a backyard party in March, Bell wrote on Facebook: "You needn't be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts. They are young black men, likely in their teens or in their early 20s. ...These boys have been in the system before. They've grown up there. They know the police. They've been arrested."

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Some called Bell's comments racially insensitive. She deleted the post and publicly apologized, but was fired from WTAE.

RELATED: More on Wendy Bell's situation

9 PHOTOS
Wendy Bell Pittsburgh anchor fired for anti-black statements
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Wendy Bell Pittsburgh anchor fired for anti-black statements
I hate racism more than I loved Wendy Bell so in that case, peace out girly✌️
Pittsburgh news anchor Wendy Bell gets the boot after racial comments, says firing is ‘unfair’ https://t.co/TYXgqL5jdG
When I see people defending #WendyBell. #nottoday https://t.co/6bVMnJaNQb
Old white people on Facebook are wild about this Wendy Bell
So many tweets: "WENDY BELL GOT FIRED FOR TELLING THE TRUTH!" What "truth" is that? Think REAL HARD before you answer, please.
Wendy Bell - Pittsburg anchorwoman - thought she was mrs. Marple. At least she got fired... #RacismMustFall https://t.co/z0Rj1fIyto
Here is what Wendy Bell wrote. notice that she Calle th shooters "black" and the Bus boy "A young African American https://t.co/ciYDwqxL2X
You can't solve the problem of blacks killing blacks if you can't talk about blacks killing blacks. #WendyBell #endpc
"I think I'll post about Wendy Bell's 1st amendment rights even though I don't actually understand what the 1st am-" https://t.co/pAEqs7BJ69
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Bell is now arguing those same comments wouldn't have gotten her fired if she wasn't white.

Her attorney said, "What she said was benign at best. President Obama has said similar things."

He also added WTAE had authority over Bell's Facebook account and could have edited or deleted her post if they felt it violated the station's standards.



When Bell posted the controversial Facebook message, no arrests had been made in the shooting. Two black men were later named suspects, but no one has been charged in the case.

Bell's supporters have argued news anchors face a catch-22 when they are expected to engage with their audiences on social media.

Bell began her career with WTAE in 1998 and has won 21 regional Emmys. One of the demands of her lawsuit is getting her job at the station back.

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