News anchor apologizes for Facebook post that 'could be viewed as racist'
A Pennsylvania news anchor has issued an apology after she posted a rant on her Facebook page that many have pointed out to be racist and insulting.
The original message, in which WTAE anchor and reporter Wendy Bell addressed the ambush shooting that left five people dead including a pregnant woman and her unborn child, read 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 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.”
No arrests have been made in connection with the ambush shooting, which took place on March 9, and authorities have not released descriptions for any possible suspects.
Bell went on in the post to talk about a visit to a restaurant where she describes an employee as a “young, African American teen” working hard, stacking glasses, picking up scraps from the floor. With no direct connection to the shootings, she continues by writing that he worked with “a rhythm and a step that gushed positivity. He moved like a dancer with a satisfied smile on his face. And I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He’s going to Make it…I wonder how long it had been since someone told him he was special.”
There have been mixed reactions to the post, with many criticizing what they perceived to be subtle racism in Bell’s assumptions about the shooters and her description of the boy. More than 700 people have liked the Facebook page, “Demand WTAE Hold Wendy Bell Accountable.”
The post has since been taken down and Bell issued an apology. “I sincerely apologize for the post about the Wilkinsburg mass shooting,” Bell said Wednesday evening. “I now understand that some of the words I chose were insensitive and could be viewed as racist. I regret offending anyone.”