Black Meteorologist Fired For Responding to Facebook Question About Her 'Ethnic Hair'

Illustration for article titled Black Meteorologist Fired For Responding to Facebook Question About Her 'Ethnic Hair'

This is seriously ridiculous and pretty damn racist. Rhonda A. Lee, a meteorologist at KTBS-TV, an ABC affiliate in Shreveport, LA, was fired for (very politely) responding to (inane) Facebook comments about her hair. Let's just hop in because it's infuriating and ugh.


According to Clutch:

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?. . ."

Subsequent to this interaction — which Lee handled so well that I'm thinking of hiring her for my future PR business, Dealing with Dumbasses, Inc. — she was reprimanded and then fired by station managers. For real. That happened. No, this is not backwards day in crazy town, it's reality in the United States of America, Pop. WE FUCKED.

Of course, KTBS-TV couldn't even demonstrate any rules that 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."

I'm not for solving problems through litigation, and there hasn't been any mention of going to court, and I also don't know anything about our legal system that couldn't be gleaned from a viewing of L&O (so basically I have my JD), but ALL THAT SAID: I hope Lee takes them for every fucking penny they have.

Meteorologist Fired for Responding to ‘Racist' Facebook Post [Clutch Magazine]


I don't think she handled it well at all. Why did she go into that diatribe about long hair??? Vascocu was simply saying (right or wrong) that we're not used to seeing men with long hair and women with short hair doing the news.

She got all nit-picky about non-existent issues, then went on this holier than thou rant about "pride."

But I'm of the school that believes that on-air replies to Tweets and FB comments should be grounds for dropping the show/network entirely. The only thing they're good for is material for Colbert, Stewart, et al.