WTAE apologizes for anchor Wendy Bell's Facebook posting
March 24, 2016 11:00 PM
WTAE-TV President and General Manager addresses viewers Thursday night.
Wendy Bell, news anchor at WTAE-TV
By Maria Sciullo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Charles W. Wolfertz III, WTAE-TV president and general manager, described news anchor Wendy Bell's recent Facebook post as displaying "an egregious lack of judgment" and apologized for it in an editorial tonight.
"Wendy Bell posted a message on her Facebook page that offended many of our viewers. Her post offended us. Wendy has since apologized for what she wrote and acknowledged it was insensitive. Wendy is sorry for the words she chose, and so are we. It was an egregious lack of judgment.
"WTAE regrets it happened and is committed to making sure something like this doesn't happen again. Now that the post is down, WTAE management is initiating a comprehensive examination of the issue and will take appropriate action. We are committed to working with local community organizations to further the dialogue around these important issues.
"We believe what happened at WTAE this week should be something we all learn from. We can be, and will be better."
Ms. Bell, whose Facebook page is branded with the WTAE logo but often includes personal observations, sparked an online debate when she mused that whoever was responsible for a mass shooting in Wilkinsburg recently had to be "black," and "they have multiple siblings from multiple fathers." She later recounted an incident involving another African American youth that struck many as patronizing.
After someone referred to this post as "nuanced racism," she replied "realism, not racism." A new Facebook page titled "Demand WTAE Hold Wendy Bell Accountable" was created to further the debate. By Wednesday evening, amid hundreds of online comments for and against her post, Ms. Bell removed it and apologized for her remarks.
Maria Sciullo: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1478 or @MariaSciulloPG.
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