Moving On: Meteorologist Rhonda Lee Discusses Life Since Being Fired

January 13, 2013  |  



It’s been a little over a month since Rhonda A. Lee was fired from ABC affiliate KTBS-TV in Shreveport, Louisiana for responding professionally, and ever so politely, to two racist Facebook posts written about her natural hair by viewers on the station’s page. Now that she’s had time to reflect on the incident, Lee says she would do it all over and defend herself, again. She recalls a manager at the station recommending she thank viewers for their oft-racially insensitive comments about her hair. “I remember thinking, No I’m not going to thank someone for being racist,” she says.

On whether or not things would be different if she started wearing a straight wig:

“I don’t think we would have received that first Facebook post from that viewer. He wouldn’t have had anything to talk about because, dare I say it, I would have been very status quo and looked like everyone else. But would I have done anything different with my hair, knowing the trouble I’ve gone through here in Shreveport? I went through the same trouble in my last job in Austin. That’s ever disheartening because it’s just been so hard over something that’s potentially so superficial, if we just let it be. I came to the station with my short hair and had to explain it to my viewers, which, to me, is not the biggest deal. It comes down to leadership, I feel. If the management will back you up, then you’re okay.”

About doing things differently:

“Goodness no. Not in a million years. I remember my general manager saying, the next time you get a Facebook comment like that, just thank the viewer for watching. I remember thinking, No I’m not going to thank someone for being racist. But, the man who wrote that post, Emmit Vascocu, did apologize. He is to be credited. He personally wrote me. I wrote him back and thanked him for his apology.”

You can read the rest, including Lee’s views on being called the “Rosa Parks of natural hair” over on ESSENCE.

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  • Cakester

    It’s a shame that the she lost her job and still does not get the message. She did not get fired for having short, natural hair, she got fired for not following company policy. Now, she is saying that she would do it all over again… at least the viewer apologized and she credited him for that, but his racist remarks (although offensive) did not cost her the job, her response to him did…

  • Reese

    I wondered what happened with this. Unfortunate situation.

  • Guest21

    This whole story got blown out of proportion. She didn’t get fired because of her hair she, along with another employee, got fired by not following company policy regarding social networking. I’m not saying it was right that she had to deal with racist comments but she did not get fired because of her hair. I wish her the best but the fact that another employee (who is white) got fired the same day she did, for the same reason she did speaks to how we sometimes take things and run with them without seeking facts.

    • olivia

      Thanks for this…people so desperately want to make this about her hair when it really had nothing to do with anything.

      She went against her employers wishes and got canned. End of story.

      I really hate the way that she plays the victim role. On-air talent get hate mail or hear negative comments all the time. She handled things poorly and she should take responsibility.

    • kierah

      She’s running with this natural hair banner because that’s the stuff that gets you interviewed by Essence magazine.

      Anchors get dismissed everyday and we don’t stage a sit-in over it.

  • It’s unfortunate that the more things change the more they stay the same. People want perfection/fantasy on t.v.especially middle aged to older white men. Look at the ad’s and commercials on t.v. Sex sells. Natural hair has the visual perception of being unappealing. Everyone has a right to be themselves and feel good about themselves and have their choices accepted and respected.