KTBS Responds to Firing of Black Meteorologist

by West Parsons on December 22, 2012 · 2 comments

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Remember Rhonda Lee’s story? She is the meteorologist that responded to a Facebook comment from a viewer about her natural hair. Read here [+]. Though not typical of their policy, her former employer, KTBS has responded:

On November 28, 2012, KTBS dismissed two employees for repeated violation of the station’s written procedure. We can confirm that Rhonda Lee was one of the employees. Another employee was a white male reporter who was an eight year veteran of the station. The policy they violated provided a specific procedure for responding to viewer comments on the official KTBS Facebook page. Included is an email that was sent to all news department employees informing them of this procedure. This procedure is based on advice from national experts and commonly used by national broadcast and cable networks and local television stations across the country. Unfortunately, television personalities have long been subject to harsh criticism and negative viewer comments about their appearance and performance. If harsh viewer comments are posted on the station’s official website, there is a specific procedure to follow. Ms. Rhonda Lee was let go for repeatedly violating that procedure and after being warned multiple times of the consequences if her behavior continued. Rhonda Lee was not dismissed for her appearance or defending her appearance. She was fired for continuing to violate company procedure.

Rhonda has since appeared on an CNN with Soledad O’Brien to speak about the incident stating “I have yet to see this policy. Upon my termination I asked, ‘Could I see it?’ and I was told, ‘No,’I pled for my job again just this past Friday and asked to see the policy and was told that there isn’t anything written down.”

A copy of the e-mail sent to staff members was obtained by Huffington Post.

With said new evidence, have your feelings changed on this issue?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul December 22, 2012 at 3:56 pm

No, it is a guideline, a policy would have include possibility of discipline action if violated including steps this gives no clue that you could be fired, and there was no evidence in her file that she even received this, it’s a smoke screen in my view.

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Shon December 25, 2012 at 10:18 pm

They aren’t enforcing something that has been fully established as a policy. Ultimately they are in the wrong and she and the veteran should pursue legal help.

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