KTBS-TV meteorologist Rhonda Lee lost her job after engaging a racist viewer on Facebook. It all started when the viewer commented that all of kids who won an annual toy giveaway “are people of color,” and accused the station of “racism.”
Lee says she responded to the viewer and her response cost her her job, even though she didn’t violate any written policy of the station. When she inquired about the policy, she was told it was passed down at a staff meeting which she did not attend.
It all began on November 14, when a KTBS viewer named Kenny Moreland, whose Facebook profile picture is of Buckwheat character, along with the caption, “Buckwheat Say: O-Tay,” posted a comment on the station’s Facebook page, about KTBS’ annual “Three Minute Smile” contest, which gives winners a 3-minute shopping spree at a WalMart store:
Not to start any trouble, because I think that the annual “Three Minute Smile” is a great function and I love to see kids so happy. Am I the only one that has noticed that this year, all the kids, lets say, are people of color? This is Channel 3, not KSLA, the “Project Pride” network, that might as well be part of the BET channel. Did KTBS slip up on a news story, and owe S’port’s criminal mayor Cedric, a favor? Seems like some racism going on to me. Just saying…..
Moreland was obvioulsy trying to start trouble because he’d left a similar comment earlier in the day:
Has anybody else noticed that this years “3 minute smile” contestants are all of the same race? I thought this was Channel 3, and not KSLA the “Project Pride” network. Looks like racism to me. Not to put it down… I think it’s great for the little kids to get such a chance, but come on….. Are Ya’ll on Cedric Glover’s secret payroll now?
Ms. Lee responded to the comment:
I’m not sure I understand your comment. “…this is Channel 3 not KSLA…” What are you trying to say?
The children are picked at random. So there goes your theory that they are selected for their color. I would like to think that it doesn’t matter who the child is. If you truly just want to see the kids happy your message had a funny way of showing it.
Happy holidays. –Met. Rhonda Lee
And although Ms. Lee’s comments were innocuous, the station fired her and left the comments of the racist Mr. Moreland up on the station’s Facebook page. Funny enough, it was Ms. Lee who alerted the station to the racist comments on the station’s Facebook page, thinking that they’d just delete them. Instead, they fired Ms. Lee, thus taking sides with the racist.