A news reporter in Pennsylvania has apologized for a Facebook post that many have called racist. The WTAE anchor was discussing a March 9 ambush shooting and killing of five people, including a pregnant woman and her unborn child.
Wendy Bell’s post, which is now deleted, contained subtle racism against Blacks. It 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.”
Descriptions of the reported suspects have not been released by authorities and no arrests have been made.
She also went on to describe in her lengthy Facebook post a separate observation of “a young African-American teen” at a restaurant, stating 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.”
Bell tweeted an apology for her message about the Wilkinsburg shooting on Wednesday. According to The Philly, the street where the shooting occurred, which happened during a cookout, is generally quiet.
I have removed a post that I initially placed here on Monday. I sincerely apologize for that post about the… https://t.co/SPdfljNykO
— Wendy Bell (@WendyBellWTAE) March 23, 2016
Reaction to the anchor’s post has been mixed over the past few days. One commenter on Bell’s Facebook apology supports the anchor, saying she didn’t see anything racist in her words and praised her for her courtesy toward the young Black male. The comment below was met with derision from others.
Another user pointed out that even though the racism wasn’t obvious, the racist undertones were there in the form of microagressions, words often disguised as compliments but come off offensive.
A Facebook page – called “Demand WTAE Hold Wendy Bell Accountable” – was created Wednesday morning, urging Bell’s station to reprimand her for her words. It currently has over 900 followers.