Could you lose your job for defending yourself on Facebook? Rhonda Lee says she was fired from her job as meteorologist for KTBS in Shreveport, Louisiana because she responded to a racial remark posted by a viewer on the station's Facebook page. Lee, who keeps her hair short and natural, received a comment on the page from a viewer who didn’t like her hairstyle. Lee’s response was followed by her termination. Lee joins “Starting Point” live from Dallas to talk more about it.
This was the first time Lee says someone has commented on her looks on a Facebook page, but it isn’t the first time that she’s heard ever a comment on her hair. “I’ve even had a news director once say that my hair was too aggressive for Sacramento, so I wasn’t even allowed to interview at that point” she says. “It’s been an interesting journey with my hair.”
According to KTBS, Lee violated the social media procedure of the station by responding to the viewer's comment. Lee says she was not even aware of the policy at the time. She simply thought she needed to respond to the remark that was addressed to her in particular. "Racial comments can be very sensitive," she says, but she didn't consider her topic controvercial at all.
Soledad O'Brien relates Lee's experience to that of Wisconsin reporter Jennifer Livingston, who was criticized about her weight by a viewer earlier this year. She responded to it on air and her station rallied around her while others cheered her on. O'Brien asks whether Lee could have used this opportunity to launch a similar conversation. Lee says Livingston's experience came to mind, but her "first response was education." "I feel like I was being punished for defending myself," Lee says. "Whereas other people are given platforms, I was given a pink slip instead."
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