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Fired WTAE Pittsburgh Anchor Claims Racial Discrimination

Former WTAE Pittsburgh, Pa. anchor Wendy Bell, who was fired in March after a divisive Facebook post, Monday filed a lawsuit asking for her job back, claiming she was the victim of racial discrimination because she is white.

“Had an African-American journalist said the same thing, it wouldn't have generated the same quote-outcry-unquote,” Bell’s attorney, Samuel J. Cordes, said after the suit was filed, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  “What she said was benign at best. President Obama has said similar things.”

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The Hearst-owned ABC affiliate fired Bell on the heels of a Facebook post she wrote two weeks after a backyard shooting in Wilkensburg, Pa. in which six people were killed.

 “…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. They have multiple siblings from multiple fathers and their mothers work multiple jobs,” Bell wrote.

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She also wrote that she was given hope by the African-American busboy she saw at a restaurant who “moved like a dancer with a satisfied smile on his face... He's going to Make It.”

According to the Tribune-Review, the lawsuit contends Bell was fired without cause by the station, which had commended her for being a “model anchor and newsroom leader.” Bell was fired the same day WTAE met with the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation to discuss Bell and issues of racial diversity.