A meteorologist for KTBS is fired after responding to controversial comments from a viewer on Facebook.
The TV station in Shreveport, Louisiana, says Rhonda Lee was let go for violating company procedure.
Published reports say Lee was responding to racially charged remarks about her short, natural hairstyle, that referred to her as “the black lady that does the news” and suggested she “wear a wig or grow some more hair.”
The exchange between Lee and the viewer happened on KTBS 3 News’ Facebook page.
KTBS issued the following statement, saying they don’t typically comment on personal matters, but felt that due to the issue, they decided to speak out.
“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.”
Lee told CNN that she asked to see the policy and was told nothing was written down.