Wendy Bell’s discrimination lawsuit against WTAE settled
Former WTAE-TV news anchor Wendy Bell’s federal lawsuit against her employer has apparently been settled, according to court records.
Reached Thursday, Bell told the Tribune-Review, “Let’s just say I’ve moved on.”
She said she could not further discuss the matter but was satisfied.
U.S. District Court records show a settlement conference scheduled for Jan. 18 was canceled, and the lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice on Jan. 29. Attorneys on both sides of the case agreed to the dismissal. No terms are disclosed.
Bell referred additional questions to her attorney, Samuel Cordes, who did not immediately return a call or email.
Bell sued WTAE its parent company Hearst Stations Inc. in June 2016 , claiming racial discrimination. She claimed through her attorney that she wouldn’t have been fired for her comments if she were not white.
Attorneys for Hearst and WTAE did not return phone calls or emails.
WTAE fired Bell for an online comment she posted using a company Facebook account following the March 9, 2016, killings of five people and an unborn child in a backyard barbecue ambush in Wilkinsburg.
Bell speculated in the post about the race and family background of the shooters and contrasted that profile with her recent encounter with a black busboy.
The company fired her March 30, 2016.
In a 2016 post that was later edited, then deleted from a Facebook fan page, Bell wrote: “You needn’t be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts two weeks ago Wednesday. … They are young black men, likely teens or in their early 20s. They have multiple siblings from multiple fathers and their mothers work multiple jobs.”
In the same post, she said she was given “hope” by a hardworking black busboy at a South Side Works restaurant who “moved like a dancer with a satisfied smile on his face. … He’s going to make it.”
The post, the company’s delayed reaction and Bell’s subsequent firing drew widespread public criticism on social media.
Ben Schmitt is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7991, [email protected] or via Twitter at @Bencschmitt.