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VICTIMIZED BECAUSE OF HAIR

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http://shine.yahoo.com/work-money/meteorologist-rhonda-lee-she-fired-defending-her-hair-200400289.html

When a viewer took meteorologist Rhonda A. Lee to task online for having short hair, rather than for any job-related issues, she defended herself. But instead of supporting Lee or even deleting the offensive Facebook post, Shreveport, Louisiana television station KTBS fired her, saying she had violated the company’s unofficial social media policy. The controversy started on October 1, when a viewer left a post on KTBS-TV’s public Facebook page criticizing Lee’s looks….”the black lady that does the news is a very nice lady. the onlt [sic] thing is she needs to wear a wig or grow some more hair,” wrote Emmitt Vascocu on October 1. “im not sure if she is a cancer patient. but still its not something myself that i think looks good on tv.” Days later, when KTBS-TV still hadn’t respond to the Facebook post, Lee did. “Hello Emmitt—I am the “black lady” to which you are referring. My name is Rhonda Lee. Nice to meet you,” she wrote on October 6, in the comments. “I am sorry you don’t like my ethnic hair. And no I don’t have cancer. I am very proud of my African-American ancestry which includes my hair,” Lee, 37, continued. “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. Women come in all shapes, sizes, nationalities, and levels of beauty. Showing little girls that being comfortable in the skin and HAIR God gave me is my contribution to society. Little girls (and boys for that matter) need to see that what you look like isn’t a reason to not achieve their goals. Conforming to one standard isn’t what being American is about and I hope you can embrace that,” she concluded. “Thank you for your comment and have a great weekend and thank for watching.” But while other Facebook users lauded Lee for her polite and measured response—including Vascocu himself, who replied with “you are very right to be proud of where you are from and I do respect that” and later publicly apologized to Lee—her employer thought she had gone too far. After she politely responded to another racially tinged Facebook post on November 14, KTBS-TV fired her, citing “repeated violations” of the station’s social media policy. “Ms. Rhonda Lee was let go for repeatedly violating that procedure and after being warned multiple times of the consequences if her behavior continued,” KTBS-TV executives said in a statement posted on Facebook on Tuesday, after Lee appeared on CNN. “Rhonda Lee was not dismissed for her appearance or defending her appearance. She was fired for continuing to violate company procedure.” “They told me the policy I violated isn’t written down, but was mentioned in a newsroom meeting about a month-and-a-half prior. A meeting I didn’t attend,” she said. “So when I asked what rule did I break there isn’t anything to point to.” She has “yet to see this policy,” she told CNN. In response, KTBS-TV posted on Facebook an edited version of a company memo that was sent out on August 30. “When we see complaints from viewers, it’s best not to respond at all,” the email read. “Even if our immediate reaction response to the complaint were exactly what it should be, it still leaves us open to what has a huge opportunity to become an argument.” Employees were urged to have viewers contact the station instead. “Once again,” the email states, “this is the only proper response.” Lee told CNN that she did see the email—which clearly states in the first paragraph that it is “guidance” and “more of a starting point for a ‘Social Media Best Practices’ policy, not the policy itself”—but feels she did not break any rule.
“I feel like I was being punished for defending myself,” she told CNN. “Whereas other people are given platforms, I was given a pink slip instead.” The controversial posts are still up on the station’s Facebook page and, adding insult to injury, KTBS-TV even gave Vascocu’s original post criticizing Lee a thumbs up. This isn’t the first time that Lee’s hairstyle has affected her job. “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 told CNN. “It’s been an interesting journey with my hair.” In May, Lee filed a lawsuit against Austin TV station KXAN, where she said that she was “repeatedly subjected to crude and insensitive remarks about her race” and told that “she was not marketable to the audience the company was trying to reach, which was Caucasian males,” the lawsuit alleges

36 Responses to VICTIMIZED BECAUSE OF HAIR

  • Ms.B says:

    I wonder what policy she violated ? Maybe she wasn’t suppose to respond? Also maybe the station has a public announcement policy ? WOW, kudos to her for even landing the job …. So many ppl oppose nappy hair AND I SAY NAPPY WITH PRIDE. I have natural hair as well and I get lots of compliment ….” Bcus its so unusual to see a black woman wearing her natural hair and look pretty and professional” a Dat mi hear all the time. do u see the insult in the statement Bcus I do !
    I had to cuss off Lauren Lauren and her friend on twitter one time for saying how they. Nah breed for any black man bcus they don’t want no nappy head Pickney.
    THE WOMAN LOOKS GREAT TO ME but maybe I AM BIAS BCUS I LOVE TO SEE NATURAL HAIR…!

  • Belly Bang says:

    Ms. B, yuh nuh biased, yuh sensible

  • Tawkchuet says:

    She need to sue them so racist. I’m surprised she even got the job in thee first pace

  • Brightlight says:

    Ms. B I love your comment :2thumbup

  • Cindy Royal says:

    I read this on Yahoo! news this morning & the station’s so-called policy is non-existent at best & made to suit the moment as they r still unable to furnish her or any1 else with a copy of this policy. They claimed in a memo that they don’t want their employees to respond to viewers FB comment & that they had said that in some meeting that this women wasn’t even in. I think they had a bigger problem with her hair than any1 else, bcuz the view that made the comment accepted her well answered response & apologised, so what’s the station’s problem?

  • Observer says:

    I hope she takes this further because all too often we take these treatments quietly and accept “their” apologies. FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT!

  • Belly Bang says:

    If i recall, the station itself even ‘liked’ the Fb comment she made

  • Met says:

    sometimes dem only hire black people as sham eno jus fi seh dem hire a minority

  • Belly Bang says:

    No, mi get it wrong, ah di racist comment dem did like

  • Observer says:

    mi alwayz ere ppl seh fram a person stawt off by sayin “I have black frenz” a time fi luk pon dem diffrant damn undacova racist dem

  • Well mi a go be honest. They obviously did not fire her because of the hairstyle nor because they were racist. If that were the case they would not have hired her in the first place. Yes they do have to fill racial quotas but at the same time they could have hired other black women with long permed hair.

    The point that the station is making is that as an employee she has to recognize that she is in a job that is very customer service oriented. She really did not need to answer any one on facebook. She should have spoken with the station manager and saw if an on-air response would be befitting. And lets be real it would not have been, as it does not help with ratings.

    There was a fat lady at one of these American stations who was taunted by a man because of her being overweight. She went through the proper channels and got the chance to speak about it on the air. Obviously the station manager felt that the ratings would increase and not decrease which essential for the running of the station.

    Whatever profession or business you are in you have to be able to understand the needs of the customers from the perspective of making money. If it don’t make money it don’t make sense, simple. That is why a lot of companies do not like hiring younger people because they just don’t get it there is really no wrong or right, at the end of the day it all boils down to making profits for the company.

  • Cindy Royal says:

    The station liked the comment of the viewer who critiqued her hair.

  • Met says:

    cindy she fi sue dem and go live offa dem money…talkditings nuh underestimate racist america…they have to hire minorities even if dem nuh want to…but they will fire u fi little and nothing

  • milikeit says:

    Morning, so now they’re trying to hide their racist view behind this phantom media policy that was never written down, but discussed in a meeting she never attended. Her hair is aggressive looking? Another slap in the face of black women all over the world. Wi nuh like yuh come pon wi TV looking niggerish (yes I know it’s not a word). That’s what I’m hearing, so the skin color is not the issue no more, it’s the hair now. Pretty soon when dem get pass the hair, it will be the nose, then the lips. This shit is sickening. Shi fi file a lawsuit against dem quick quick. Come on people, a blind man can clearly see this is racism, bout media policy. Weh di policy deh? And in most cases, when it comes to corporate policy, you usually have to sign off on it to show you acknowledge it. Weh di rass policy deh? Dem cya find it because it doesn’t exist. You don’t have to look European to be acceptable and pretty. Dem fi guh suck dem FINISH THIS FI MI PEOPLE.OOO

  • Cindy Royal says:

    She said a news director even once told her her hair is too “aggressive for Sacramento”. Wat dat mean Met???

  • Observer says:

    Clearly I never saw your point until the very end of your long story…..”making profits for the company” and that’s exactly what we all said b4 you wrote this is that THE COMPANY IS FILLING THEIR NEEDS BY FULFILLING A RACIAL QUOTA!!

    She didn’t have to answer, Rosa didn’t have to stay seated on the bus, MLK didn’t have to walk or make that speech, Marcus Garvey didn’t have to stand up for his right, Obama didn’t have to say “YES WE CAN!!!” and THEY DID NOT HAVE TO FIRE HER FOR STANDING UP FOR HERSELF!!!!!!!!

  • HIGHLY CONCERNED says:

    @Met, dem only hire 1% black to FILL QUOTA..Dem stink like. The girl neva did anyting wrong. SO ITS OK IF CHEMO-THERAPY NAM OFF HAR HAIR, BUT JUSS BECAUSE SHE CHOOSE NOT TO PLASTER HER HEAD WID REMI-HORSE HAIR IS A BLOODCLAATE PROBLEM… DIS SHIT MEK ME BRINGLE!!!

  • Observer says:

    mi pass bringle n den sum a wi same bloodclawt black ppl dem nuh c nutten rong wid dis it bun mi fi sum a unnuh e si

  • Well Met I stated above that they could have hired her to fill quota, however I don’t believe that would have been connected to her hair because they could have hired a permed hair black woman.

    She can sue them for firing her, but I doubt she will get much money. They probably researched already if it were cheaper to keep her, and decided that it wasn’t. Whether or not we like it when we are working for an organization we must adhere to their policies and scheme of doing things or don’t wuk deh.

  • Brightlight says:

    I agree with Talk_di_tings. I know the story of the plus size newscaster too and she used the time she had on air to combat the man who was constantly heckling her online.

    They could have just disciplined her. The firing seems very harsh. I swear, black women just don’t get a break.

  • Met says:

    highly all dat tuh…. but u know we nuh encourage black hair…I hope next year I can have a page on the site about our hair and how to care and grow it..

  • Met says:

    cindy u wud haffi ask dem big stinkin shithouses how hair fi be aggressive… the comment should have been removed by the station…its racist

  • Well colour me blind, so now this heroic effort is comparable to the likes of civil rights leaders and revolutionados. Well maybe Obama should start checking online more for when they make comments about his nappy head kids and his big but wife. I guess he should go to the conservative room in yahoo chat and reply.

  • Pudding pop says:

    I am actually transitioning back to my natural hair. And as a career woman myself, I find the ignorance of his statement hurtful and demining. The sad truth is as a black woman in a “white work force”, in order to recieve a promotion you either have to cut your locks or “tame” your hair. It amazes me how no other ethnicity is told to change their hair except black women. And the truth is that “crack cream” is what’s damaging our hair.
    #effdemteamnatural

  • Cindy Royal says:

    Met, I’m not going to even say the comment is so much racist as it was said in ignorance & based on the set standards for females in this profession. Maybe this viewer really has never seen a tv person of African descent with their hair in it’s natural state b4, bcuz he really did seem to accept & gain realization from her response & he apologised. Eg, there was at time wen a bank worker in Ja couldn’t have braids, so if u see them in it u’r like, “how comes she a wear braid?” or even our news anchors, most of them wear lens, so when u c them in glasses it just looks so unusual – all bcuz of set standards.

    But for the station to fire her for responding, in such a nice way at that, is ridiculous & speaks volumes bcuz they really had no policy in place for situations like this, so y exactly did they fire her.

  • Met says:

    cindy white people fake so u cant seh him did accept what she seh…a goodly him go complain to the station that she responded and may have apologised only because she responded…cindy u haffi live wid white people fi know dem…very fake oo

  • Observer says:

    Obama is in a much highly recognized position than that of Ms. Lee. He is and will always be the most disrespected President of our time. Our ancestors had their hair like that of Ms. Lee and she was picked on because of that fact and so, I pointed to our civil rights leaders. Suh wa rong wid dat?? Like mi seh IT WAS VERY RACIST OF THE STATION TO FIRE HER.

  • Cindy Royal says:

    True dat Met! Mi aunty weh live inna di states fi ova 40 yrs seh dem will report yuh to police dis mawin & a evening dem si yuh an wave to yuh an come nice, nice, nice a ask yuh if yuh awrite cuz dem see police @ yuh yawd wen dem know seh a dem. lol

  • Met says:

    they are dangerously racist cindy and dem movements are like no other..they smile and nod talk to u humble and den set u up in a minute

  • Observer says:

    my aunt had students at LIU where she taught that were deliberately set up by other faculty members so they wouldn’t pass their clinical portion of the class dem very racist n tan bad but u wud neva noe if yuh nuh study dem eden deh

  • Bubbles says:

    channel 13 – wjz in baltimore did the same to oprah in the 80’s they had issues with her hair and image, oprah refused to change and she wasnt there for long but we all know what happen to oprah now she own a network bigger than wjz13. i would ever live down south racism is very much alive down there. observer well said if everyone just sit there and take it we would still be in chains

  • Bubbles says:

    regardless of the workplace policy a blood run thrugh har viens. i work customer service and i was train to ignore the customer no matter what they say, one day this woman tell me to speak english and if i cant speak english i should go back to where i came from. me figit sey me deh a wuk i cuss out har nasty rass, lucky for me she didnt understand a word and my boss was very understanding she gave me a warning .

  • Observer says:

    bubbles :peluk

    Bottomline..we’re all humans but with humanity comes hypocrisy as illustrated

  • Very Blessed says:

    I went natural 2 yrs ago(I now have beautiful shoulder length locks) after creme-ing and weaving for years. I feel a sense of freedom, pride and love for my blackness. I live in the suburbs and get stares all the time but I don’t care. I flash my hair inna dem rass face everytime I see dem looking at me in a way. fuck who nuh like it. You must love yaself….

    PS: When people say to me “oh you have dreadlocks. I would respond and tell them no. Dread is the name the european gave us when looking at our hair. they would say our hair was dreadful.

  • knowthetruth says:

    Ah better she did tell d man bout him momma bloodclart and get fire. Imagine the woman nah trouble nobody and still this dutty man (weh goodly no ave no hair pon d middle of him head) ah fass wid her. Bwoy oh bwoy we shall never see the end of rascit attitudes towards our BEAUTIFUL BLACK SKIN.
    I hope that she tek them on and wins her case, then go bk pon fb fi mek dem kno seh she will it!

  • Regula says:

    Respect to this young woman for her militancy in the face of overwhelming pressure from start to finish. Reminds me of a younger Graca Machel, a plain looking woman(by western standards) with cropped hair just like this, but ,who besides being a distinguished academic and highly respected in her own right, holds the enviable title of being the ONLY woman ever to have been First Lady to two ruling Heads of State, first to Samora Machel of Mozamique, then Nelson Madela, proof if ever it were needed, that the appeal of a Black nappy head woman is universally insurmountable.

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