Black Meteorologist with Teeny Weeny Afro Fired For Responding to ‘Racist’ Facebook Post

by West Parsons on December 11, 2012 · 11 comments

in in the news

While a social media profile has increasingly become an active point of reference in the hiring process of new employees, it was the identified culprit of Rhonda Lee’s recent firing from KTBS-TV, and ABC affiliate in Shreveport Lousianna.

READ MORE: KTBS Responds to Firing

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.”

Lee messaged Joural-ism saying “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.”

SOURCE: Richard Prince of Journal-ism

Was her response professional? Did she deserve to be terminated?



Miss Kay December 11, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Her response was professional and she did not deserve to be terminated. I cannot find where the racism is. Defence followed by an explanation to the viewers comment did not belittle any race.
Anyway, she should be glad a company like that let her go. I think they were more afraid of the feedback response it would conjure.
I wish her best success, i know she will find something better.

Belle December 11, 2012 at 8:59 pm

@ Miss Kay I couldn’t agree more! She definitely will find better! Kudos to you Lee!

Charles Walters December 12, 2012 at 7:19 am

The news station was obviously wrong in their attempt to appease their other than ethinic audience. We who are offended by this less than “fair and balanced” treat have the right to show our disdain by boycotting anything that has to do with that news channel. Show them where the real power is.

Charles Walters December 12, 2012 at 7:23 am

Additionally, since the treatment of Ms Lee. was less than “fair and balanced”, I cannot wait to see how the judicial system rights the wrong with a huge monetary reward that is “fair and balanced”. I think they (KTSB-TV) should put their money where their mouth is!

nikki December 12, 2012 at 8:08 am

She was professional to a tee in her response. If they have no written policy about how to respond to viewers on social media sites then I’m sure her lawyer won’t have a hard time getting her some major figures for this ridiculous firing.

nika December 12, 2012 at 2:29 pm


iiona December 12, 2012 at 2:52 pm

I thought she was professional and didn’t deserve to be discharged. I would be interested to know what will happen, will she “get her job back”, not sure if I would want my job back in a place like that but I would still fight for it and a nice referral letter too

Miss K December 12, 2012 at 6:42 pm

She was very professional and did not deserve to lose her job. I hope she finds a better job soon!

AmeeraNakisha December 17, 2012 at 1:40 am

I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same. I can’t believe what people do these days and then try to justify it. I mean really KTSB-TV? Really?

CJ Murphy December 30, 2012 at 9:44 pm

I believe Rhonda Lee deserves her job back. Nothing she said was distasteful. She addressed the comment professionallyand in a ladylike state. As a young, natural African American woman, I think it is important for us to embrace our ethnicity for the younger generation growing up. We shouldn’t have to wear extensions or modify our hair chemically to be successful. I’m proud of my God given hair, and I’m glad she defended herself

I hope Ms. Lee finds a station who will admire her courage! Stay encouraged!


khrystal November 26, 2013 at 11:35 pm

at the end of the day. she should not have been fired. if these news stations want to be apart of social media they need to have a 24 hours moderator to mediate , delete, alter, and correct anything offensive said about any reporter.