White Pittsburgh anchorwoman Wendy Bell makes ‘racist’ Facebook post
- Pittsburgh’s WTAE anchor and reporter Wendy Bell has apologized after making a ‘racist’ post on Facebook
- Bell said the unidentified suspects of a shooting were ‘young black men’
- She later deleted the post and made a new comment saying she understood how her remarks could be interpreted as racist
Pittsburgh’s WTAE anchor and reporter Wendy Bell (pictured) apologized on Wednesday for comments she made that could be perceived as racist regarding a mass shooting in a poor Philadelphia suburb
A Pittsburgh anchorwoman has apologized for comments she posted on Facebook this week about an ambush shooting that left five people dead, saying her words ‘could be viewed as racist’.
The victims, killed in a poor suburb following a cookout, included a pregnant woman and her unborn child.
‘I sincerely apologize for the post about the Wilkinsburg mass shooting,’ WTAE anchor and reporter Wendy Bell posted Wednesday evening.
‘I now understand that some of the words I chose were insensitive and could be viewed as racist. I regret offending anyone.’
The apology references a lengthy Facebook message Bell — who is white — posted Monday, which 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.’
She also goes on to contrast the ‘young black men’ with a black teen she witnessed bussing tables at a restaurant, saying that teen would ‘make it’.
Bell also mentions how she praised the black teen’s work ethic to the restaurant manager, then wondered ‘how long it had been since someone told him he was special’.
Authorities have not made any arrests in the March 9 killings, nor have they provided a description of any possible suspects.
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Bell’s Facebook comments have now been removed, but claimed the unidentified suspects of the shooting were ‘young black men’ and that one didn’t have to be a ‘criminal profiler’ to image that
Bell’s post drew a mixed reaction from viewers.
Some saw her comments as offensive, prompting the apology. A Facebook page, ‘Demand WTAE Hold Wendy Bell Accountable’ was created in response and drew nearly 500 followers.
Others responded to Bell’s Wednesday Facebook post with supportive messages, saying they did not find her original message to be racist or offensive and thanking her for her honesty.
According to her station biography, Bell is an 18-year veteran of the station and has won 21 Emmy Awards.
Apologizing: Bell is an 18-year veteran with WTAE and has won 21 Emmy awards for her work with the station
Many people commented on the post saying they felt it was racist and later Bell deleted it, saying should understood why it was perceived that way
Attempts to reach WTAE or parent company Hearst Communications for comment were unsuccessful Wednesday evening.
Siblings Jerry Michael Shelton, 35, Brittany Powell, 27, and Chanetta Powell, 25, along with two cousins, Tina Shelton, 37, and Shada Mahone, 26 were killed in the ambush shooting, police said. Chanetta Powell was nearly eight months pregnant.
Wilkinsburg is a poor, largely blighted suburb east of Pittsburgh known for drug trafficking and gun violence, though the street where the shooting occurred was described by neighbors as generally quiet.