Meteorologist Rhonda Lee was fired after she responded to a racist comment left by a viewer about her short hair.
As reported in the Daily Mail , "Black meteorologist fired for responding to racist commenter who said she 'need to wear a wig or grow some more hair': Louisiana station said she violated an unwritten social media policy," by Meghan Keneally, on 12 December 2012 -- A black meteorologist was fired from an ABC affiliate in Louisiana after she responded to a racist comment left by a viewer about her short hair.
Rhonda Lee was fired from her job at KTBS in Shreveport because she wrote a lengthy, considerate response to a viewer who took issue with the way that she chose to cut her hair, saying that she 'needs to wear a wig or grow some more hair.'
The viewer wrote 'the black lady that does the news is a very nice lady... im not sure if she is a cancer patient. but still its not something myself that i think looks good on tv.'
The commenter identified himself as Emmitt Vascocu, who is a retired white man who lives in the area, and went on to justify his criticism saying that other hairstyles that don't appeal to people are rarely shown on television.
'What about letting someone a male have waist long hair do the news.what about that,' he wrote.
Ms Lee responded on October 1, the same day that he made his remark, writing '–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,' she continued.
'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.
She went on to say that she thought that her choice displayed the variety of beauty that the mix of cultures in America allows, and that she feels she is a role model to young ethnic girls by refusing to conform.
She concluded her measured response by signing off with a polite 'Thank you for your comment and have a great weekend and thank for watching.'
The Clutch reports that Mr Vascocu went on to say that he was not racist but 'this world has...certain standerd (sic). if youve come from a world of being poor are you going to dress in rags?'
The online interaction between Ms Lee and Mr Vascocu occurred on October 1, and she was fired shortly after the incident.
Her news director and general manager at KTBS said that she violated an unwritten company policy on social media. Ms Lee feels that the decision was motivated by racism, however.
Appearing on CNN's Starting Point on Wednesday morning, Ms Lee told Soledad O'Brien 'whereas other people are given platforms, I was given a pink slip'.
A petition has been started in her honor, calling for the station to give Ms Lee her job back, and so far it has 534 signatures.
Mr Vascocu has also taken some form of a stand, as he posted a veiled message on his Facebook page a few weeks after the incident.
Rife with spelling mistakes, he posted: 'To all in ciber land.
I have Dementia an also brain damage to my temprealobe. so in saying this if i say something that hurts someone bare in mind that i have this problem.For this is not a good thing ive lost alot of good memoreys.it effects my spelling it effects my mood and many othier things.' (source: Daily Mail)