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  1. #1
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    Default Meteorologist fired over natural hair response on facebook...

    Ain't this about a...?!

    Meteorologist Responded to Critic of Her Short Afro

    A black female meteorologist has been fired from the ABC affiliate in Shreveport, La., she told Journal-isms, because she responded to a racial remark posted by a viewer on the station's Facebook page.
    KTBS-TV's action against Rhonda Lee followed a previous response by Lee to a viewer who questioned whether she should wear her short Afro, suggesting she put on a wig or grow more hair.
    Rhonda Lee
    Lee messaged Journal-isms on Saturday, "I had a meeting with my ND [news director] and GM [general manager] Friday trying to get my job back. They told me the policy I violated isn't written down, but was mentioned in a newsroom meeting about a month-and-a-half prior. A meeting I didn't attend. So when I asked what rule did I break there isn't anything to point to.
    "The week I was brought in to discuss [the] last post, I was told by my ND that there were a few unclear things in the policy and that we were going to have a meeting with George Sirven, the GM about it. I was instead fired the next week no discussion had. Sirven claims that even if a policy isn't on paper we as employees are responsible for abiding by them. There isn't anything in our employee manual talking about social media dos and don'ts. I was accountable for a rule that essentially isn't in existence."
    Sirven told Journal-isms by email, "We do not comment on personnel issues out of respect for the employee and the station."
    Lee provided Journal-isms with copies of the relevant Facebook postings to the station's website.
    On Oct. 1, a viewer identified as Emmitt Vascocu wrote, "the black lady that does the news is a very nice lady.the only thing is she needs to wear a wig or grow some more hair. im not sure if she is a cancer patient. but still its not something myself that i think looks good on tv. what about letting someone a male have waist long hair do the news.what about that (cq)."
    Lee replied the same day, "Hello Emmitt--I am the 'black lady' to which you are referring. I'm sorry you don't like my ethnic hair. And no I don't have cancer. I'm a non-smoking, 5'3, 121 lbs, 25 mile a week running, 37.5 year old woman, and I'm in perfectly healthy physical condition.
    "I am very proud of my African-American ancestry which includes my hair. For your edification: traditionally our hair doesn't grow downward. It grows upward. Many Black women use strong straightening agents in order to achieve a more European grade of hair and that is their choice. However in my case I don't find it necessary. I'm very proud of who I am and the standard of beauty I display. Women come in all shapes, sizes, nationalities, and levels of beauty. Showing little girls that being comfortable in the skin and HAIR God gave me is my contribution to society. Little girls (and boys for that matter) need to see that what you look like isn't a reason to not achieve their goals.
    "Conforming to one standard isn't what being American is about and I hope you can embrace that.
    "Thank you for your comment and have a great weekend and thank for watching."
    Vascocu replied that Lee was right to be proud of who she is and that he is not a racist, but ". . . this world has . . . certain standerd (cq). if youve come from a world of being poor are you going to dress in rags?. . ."
    In a Nov. 14 post, viewer Kenny Moreland wrote, "Not to start any trouble, because I think that the annual 'Three Minute Smile' is a great function and I love to see kids so happy. Am I the only one that has noticed that this year, all the kids, lets say, are people of color? This is Channel 3, not KSLA, the 'Project Pride' network, that might as well be part of the BET Channel. Did KTBS slip up on a news story, and owe S'port's criminal mayor Cedric, a favor? Seems like some racism going on to me. Just saying....."
    Lee replied the next day, "I'm not sure I understand your comment, '...this is Channel 3 not KSLA...' What are you trying to say?
    "The children are picked at random. So there goes your theory that they are selected for their color. I would like to think it doesn't matter who the child is. If you truly just want to see the kids happy your message had a funny way of showing it.
    "Happy holidays.--Met. Rhonda Lee"
    Referring to that exchange, Lee messaged Journal-isms, "I was the one who brought it to their attention after they let it fester on the page for 6 days, but was then chastised for responding at all. I sent a screen grab to my boss via e-mail telling them that I'm ok with the anti-Rhonda commentary sometimes, but what has been posted at the time was . . . racist, and I asked them to please support me in removing the ones that didn't encourage thoughtful, respectful and civil discourse on our FB page. I never got a reply, only punished. To this day the posts are still there."
    Gary Dinges reported in May for the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman that Lee filed a discrimination suit against her former Austin employer, NBC affiliate KXAN. Lee said in the suit that she was "repeatedly subjected to crude and insensitive remarks about her race."
    Lee told Journal-isms, ". . . Race has been the issue with me since I started. That much is VERY true. Weather is an older white boy business and arms have been less than open for a young black girl a polar opposite. As reported I've had more problems here in the south than I have anywhere else in my 25+ years in the business. Perhaps there is a pattern, but I am a glutton for punishment (ha, ha), and I want what I deserve as any professional would so if I have to fight for it I will."

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  3. #2
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    Maybe it was bad form for her to respond on the news station's public Facebook page without prior approval, but nothing she said was insulting in the least. Besides, how are they going to hold her accountable for rules that she didn't agree to when she signed on?

    And even if they felt that she needed to be reprimanded, isn't firing her a little harsh? Seems like there's some other unrest going on behind the scenes.

  4. #3
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    She's a sister after my own heart for sure. In late November, she got jumped on and left out to dry by the "Christian" police, after taking the time to respond to someone who laid out bait by bidding her a blessed Sunday and signing off with God Bless. That person happens to have a "Don't Tread on My Christmas" avatar, so I gather that it's no coincidence what followed. After the Christian police jumped on her case, the "We" folk came. After she took the time to shore up some supporting respondents' commentary on abbreviations such as b-day and x-mas not dismissing the significance of one's birthday or christmas observation, the efforts to admonish and chastise her went into full court press:
    Your facts might be true but my point was taken out of context. If you are TOO lazy to type 5 more letters - "CHRIST" instead of just X then either you are a lazy typist, just plain lazy, or you don't have Christ in your life. Today, this century, not 500 years ago...people are shortening everything and forgetting what the true meaning is. What is five more letters?....well if you don't want to type Christ then you must not want Christ. But I do respect everyone's opinions I'm just taken back that a news station in our area promotes the shortened version of Christmas. But here is the most important fact-If you don't have Christ in your life BEFORE you die then you won't have him in your "AFTER-LIFE" as Rhonda calls it. I'll send prayers your way....I can tell you need it. If you would like to join a church let me know. We have a great pastor Mike Haynes and if you would like to learn more we can give you directions to our church.+
    In response to a post in which she noted the weather, she was emphatically offered blessings (as the respondent's favorite weather gal) then commanded to not take Christ out of Christmas (in the light of her using "x-mas" while graciously responding to the initial respondent). From there, someone offered the following posture:
    You would think being on the News she would know different.
    The "we" tactic came in when a couple of respondents bucked against the particular hyper-criticism.
    Its the symoblization....I agree don't take Christ of of Christmas. We don't tell you happpy bday we actually say happy birthday.
    At least, that respondent didn't lay it on thicker by taking time to setup the violent, fake-smiling "you're one of us" embrace before breaking out the "we" mess.

    It went on a bit further, with RAL offering tangible intelligence in a tactful yet tenacious manner. She didn't only respond to address hyper-criticism. She leveled with the initial respondent. I wonder how long, if at all, they had to fish (if they had been) before she got caught in that one. It just so happens that that respondent is also on a member of the Christian police. You can't often win a game rigged against you, even if you play nice. I thoroughly appreciate that she doesn't cut and run, rather than fight her fight, even when she doesn't get support from her peers. Both her poise and persistence are refreshing.

    That particular effort to put her in her place leveraging god, we-ism, her profession, etc. took place on her FB page. As oppression goes, "If it isn't one thing, it's another but there's always something.".
    Last edited by Intellexual; 12-11-2012 at 06:09 PM.
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    That firing was shady, especially if it's for an unwritten rule that somehow was created only a month before, so just on that alone she has case against her employers. Is what she did that much different then that overweight newscaster who responded to her fat shamer on the air?
    Last edited by Karibana; 12-11-2012 at 07:23 PM.


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    She's so gorgeous, it just slays me that she should have these kinds of problems. But let's remember the climate we're in right now. White folks, particularly in the South just cannot get over the fact that we have a black man for a president. Remember all the southern states (except for FL) went RED. So it doesn't at all surprise me what she's up against in states that feel wronged not once but two consecutive times in the national election. Their mean spirited, racist ways are manifesting itself in so many overt ways that it's hard to keep track of it all. There's absolutely NOTHING to keep that mentality in check so they feel they don't have to. In so many ways, the racial climate in America just feels like a resurgence of the '60s.

    I hope she wins her racial discrimination lawsuit (if I read that correctly). I really do.
    Michael Nathan White * My big brother * 1953-2011* Happy Birthday Michael
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    ^Is "shame" or "shamer" the new buzz word for every critical comment? Is this person a "hair shamer?"

    As to the story, I think her comment was inappropriate for a company sponsored Facebook page. The content was 100% correct but it was the wrong place. In fact, she could have turned that into an on-camera feature for the station and won a few more female viewers for the station.

    The firing for an "unwritten" rule is quite questionable. However, Louisiana is an "at will" employment state and she left a very public written piece of evidence that can be used against her if she tries to sue. I'm sure most places have official social media policies as to who can respond to viewers.
    No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. -Eleanor Roosevelt

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karibana View Post
    That firing was shady, especially if it's for an unwritten rule that somehow was created only a month before, so just on that alone she has case against her employers. Is what she did that much different then that overweight newscaster who responded to her fat shamer on the air?
    The only difference that I can see is that the other woman's piece probably had been pre-approved by management before she went on air.

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  12. #8
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    ^I don't disagree disagree. Still, it would be interesting to see if there was a precedence of other on air personalities at that station responding directly to critics on the FB page.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Karibana View Post
    That firing was shady, especially if it's for an unwritten rule that somehow was created only a month before, so just on that alone she has case against her employers. Is what she did that much different then that overweight newscaster who responded to her fat shamer on the air?
    I think they wanted to fire her for a while, and used this incident as a "reason" to do it.

    As far as the overweight white newscaster who responded to her critic on the air with no backlash, we must understand that even though she most likely got approval to do so from the station beforehand, her privilege played a part in that. You had best believe that if Ms. Lee had asked her superiors for permission to respond to her facebook critic, they would have said no. Generally speaking, white women who stand up for themselves are brave. Black women who stand up for themselves are uppity, bitter, btiches.


    ETA: These passages stand out to me. From the OP:

    "Now at KTBS in Shreveport, La., Lee, who is black, says she was “terminated” in August after being “repeatedly subjected to crude and insensitive remarks about her race.” She also claims, according to court documents, to have been left out of advertisements and station events, such as KXAN’s fall premiere party.
    When Lee asked why, she was told “she was not marketable to the audience the company was trying to reach, which was Caucasian males,” the lawsuit alleges.
    The weathercaster, who was employed by KXAN for just more than a year, says she was denied “employment opportunities,” as well. When Lee voiced her concerns, they were “dismissed without serious consideration,” the filing claims.
    Her termination “constituted retaliation for Plaintiff’s failure to keep quiet about the discrimination against her by KXAN-TV personnel,” according to the suit.
    Court records indicate Lee is seeking “appropriate back pay and reimbursement for lost pension, insurance, and all other benefits,” as well as punitive damages, fees for her attorneys and expert witnesses, and court costs."


    From the OP and I also found this on Clutch:

    "Though Lee’s response seems professional and mature given the nature of Vascocu’s criticism, she was reprimanded by her employer and subsequently fired. It’s even more puzzling that KTBS-TV could not reference a documented rule that Ms. Lee was in violation of: “I had a meeting with my ND [news director] and GM [general manager] Friday trying to get my job back,” Lee said. “They told me the policy I violated isn’t written down, but was mentioned in a newsroom meeting about a month-and-a-half prior. A meeting I didn’t attend. So when I asked what rule did I break there isn’t anything to point to.”
    Lee cites racism as the impetus behind her firing, and says she’s experienced it regularly since becoming a meteorologist as “weather is [a] white boy business.” Be that as it may, she shouldn’t have to fight off racist attacks from viewers, and certainly not from her employer."


    So, yeah, they've been wanting to get rid of her for while and came up with this bullsiht "new policy" that was created in a meeting she didn't attend and apparently no memo was sent to employees (or maybe just not to HER) informing them of said "new policy."

    I hope she sues the pants off these clowns and gets a better job elsewhere.
    Last edited by MommieDearest; 12-12-2012 at 05:49 AM.
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