Rhonda Lee, a meteorologist at KTBS, a family-owned ABC-affiliated TV station in Shreveport, Louisiana, was fired after responding on the station’s Facebook page to a negative comment about her hair.
Thomas Roberts and Melissa Harris-Perry spoke with Lee about the incident.
Frankly, her response was more than nice — mine would not have been so cordial!
What do you think? Justified? Or should she sue them?
Unedited transcript via MSNBC:
>> lee, a meteorologist fired after responding to a rationally charged comment on her tv station’s facebook page. a viewer posted a comment saying the black lady that does the news is a very nice lady. the only thing is she needs to wear a wig or grow some more hair. i’m not sure if she’s a cancer patient. what about letting a male have waist long hairdo the news, about what that? later, rhonda responded saying i’m 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. it is it about what being american is about. i hope you can embrace that. she joins me like from shreveport. joining us sound on is melissa harris- perry, host of nbc’s melissa harris- perry show. rhonda lee, your response is reasonable and perhaps kind and thanked them. explain, why did the explanation fire you. did they explain it properly is? was it just about this response issue?
>> well, initially, i was — i actually brought are that particular comment to the attention of management. i sent them a screen scrap at the time, and i told my manager, randy, at the time, well, you know, it seems like, i’m okay with not everybody liking me. that’s fine. but a lot of our comments as of late have come across more racist than anything. so i would like to help with getting a policy together so that we can, one, block offensive posts like this. and two, maybe start a good dialogue for educating people and getting a good discourse, going on the web. so then the next few days after that, i was called into our general manager’s office, and i was told that while we got lucky this time. and i got a little confused at first. i’m like, lucky, what do you mean? apparently according to the gm, it could have gone much worse. it could have gotten much more of ugly. so we got really lucky. he told me, next time if there’s a controversial post like this, what i need to do is thank the viewer and then bring it to the attention of management, and they would do something about it.
>> you did go — you thanked viewer within that statement. i want to get into the wtbs. saying on november 12th, wtbs dismissed two employees for repeated violation of station’s written procedure. miss rhonda lee was let go and warned several times if her behavior continued. were you warned about some type of ongoing behavior that was creating a file of marks against you that would lead up to termination?
>> no, sir, that first remark is the first time i’d ever replied, aside of giving a forecast. and the second one, the other reason — well, the main reason i was term theyinated was only the second time i ever replied in that way at all. the repeated part, i asked them during my termination, when was this repeated. there was the first time in october. and now there’s this time. that was it. that was all. i’ve never even seen that e-mail. as far as i know, as far as i can tell you, there is no written policy. that was my first and only time i’d seen that that.
>> melissa, i want to bring you in. when i first heard about this and rhonda, i was taken aback. i know you were, too. the evolution of black woman has been brought to the attention by people like chris rock.
>> is it signaling something to something? that you wear something, is that somehow signaling something? is that just working out our emotions? or is there something meaningful about as african-american women are trying to think true our self-preservation?
>> let’s talk about that the thinking through of the self-preservation. didn’t rhonda have a right to respond? the viewer asked questions, and rhonda provides answers.
>> i just want to be really clear the space we’re talking about african-american women and their hair is a very are fraught space. and the idea that rhonda’s employer was so aware to have a conversation about this. television, of course, is a visual media. we make all kinds of choices what we do and don’t wear. what we do with our hair. how much makeup we put on before we show up on television. the idea that there’s only one style of hair or one version of what would constitute beautiful or attractive hair has been an incredibly powerful tool for controlling african-american women self-presentation, in all kinds of spaces, especially corporate spaces. i’m not a fan of the chris rock film. one of the reasons is, i think it’s so important for black women to speak for themselves about their hair. so what i appreciate about what rhonda did here, in a very calm, consistent and i think educating manner, she spoke about what her hair is. what the choices were. the reasons for it. and then she thanks the viewer for having a response.
>> one thing i want to get out there, rhonda, jennifer livingston, an anchor was chastised by a viewer about her weight. she used an editorial to speak back. it was huge for her. why do you think they saw her in a different light, the moment to talk about you and your hair?
>> right. i honestly wish i had a good answer why. you know, as i said before, i felt like she got a platform and i got das boot. and i’m not clear why i couldn’t have used this as an educational moment. instead, it was very disheartening i will say i tried. i really did try. i don’t believe in having to chastise a viewer, saying bad viewer. clearly, the guy just didn’t know. i felt like if i was that a position to help him, i should be able to do so.
>> you know rhonda, i’m sorry this has happened to you. i think it’s the best thing that happened to you in the long run. who wants to work for a person like that. you can match melissa as she hosts the melissa harris- perry show right
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Ginni Thomas Testifies Today Before J6 Committee
Far-right-wing activist and lobbyist Ginni Thomas, who held a months-long pressure campaign with Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to try to force him to somehow overturn the 2020 election, and sent numerous emails to GOP lawmakers in multiple states also trying convince them to overturn the election, will testify today before the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.
Were Thomas merely a far-right wing extremist, or even a wealthy and powerful lobbyist, her actions would have received less scrutiny, but given she is married to a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas, who was the sole vote opposing the release of January 6 documents to the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection, many see her actions as concerning and deserving of investigation.
Politico’s Kyle Cheney broke the news Thomas will testify before the Committee today. Her testimony will be virtual. The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell adds, it is “voluntary.”
Calling Thomas “one of the panel’s most high-profile outstanding witnesses,” Politico reports, “Lawmakers took interest in her connections to John Eastman, a legal architect of former President Donald Trump’s last-ditch plan to subvert the 2020 election. She’d invited Eastman to speak to an activist group in the aftermath of the election, though Eastman has denied ever discussing Supreme Court-related matters with Thomas.”
In a March opinion piece on MSNBC, Wayne Batchis, associate professor of political science at the University of Delaware, examined the Supreme Court’s “Clarence Thomas (and Ginni Thomas) problem.”
“It turns out that Thomas not only sat on the board of an organization that promoted the dangerous fiction that the 2020 election was ‘stolen’ from former President Donald Trump through fraud, she also attended the rally attempting to vindicate this paranoid propagandistic fantasy (and said she left before Trump took the stage),” Batchis wrote.
” All the while, in what might resemble the coordinated efforts of synchronized swimmers, husband and wife seemingly sought to thwart the investigation into the democratically perilous events of Jan. 6. Ginni Thomas signed on to a letter seeking the expulsion of Republican Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger from the Republican conference for joining the House Jan. 6 investigation committee; Clarence Thomas was the sole dissenter — standing in opposition to the rest of the court, including its three Trump appointees — in a decision allowing for the release of Jan. 6-related documents to said committee.”
“Without trust in the courts,” he warns, “American democracy does not stand a chance.”
Former GOP Congressman Has ‘Legitimate Concerns’ Clarence Thomas Was Involved in ‘Push to Overturn the Election’
Questions surfaced after Justice Clarence Thomas was the only member of the U.S. Supreme Court to oppose the release of Mark Meadows’ texts and information to the Jan. 6 committee. It turned out that in those text messages that the justice didn’t want revealed were communications with his wife.
Former Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA), wrote in his new book that he thinks Justice Thomas is far more involved in his wife Ginni Thomas’ 2020 election overthrow attempts.
Riggleman, who left the committee in April, included many of the text messages that had previously been released from Ginni Thomas, along with the note that he had a difficult time trying to get the House Select Committee to sound the alarm on her actions.
“Supreme Court spouses are typically low profile. Ginni’s involvement with political groups had already led to questions about whether Clarence would need to recuse himself in cases with a political component,” wrote Riggleman. If Clarence had been in the logs, it would be a much bigger deal than all that. When I began to suspect Ginni and Clarence had texted with Meadows, I put together a technical brief outlining how we might be able to cement the identifications.”
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) called him to express concern that telling Americans that such an influential figure had gone full-Q. Cheney was worried it would turn the whole committee into a political sideshow and overshadow all of the other work the committee was doing. The release of Riggleman’s book has left the committee members furiousover possible leaks after spending a year with so few.
Riggleman persisted in pressing Cheney to tell Americans about the Thomases.
“The committee needed to show the American people that there was an organized, violent effort to reverse the election—and that there were indications it could have been directed by the White House,” he wrote. “Thanks to their prominence, Ginni and Clarence would make a lot of headlines, but those headlines might overwhelm the other important work we were doing.”
The conversation with Cheney didn’t go well, with the two “type A personalities” duking-out their arguments. Riggleman argued that data wasn’t political. It wasn’t right or wrong.
“I also thought that, given Clarence’s position and Ginni’s prominence in conservative circles, the American public had to know what she had been up to,” argued Riggleman. “Some of the messages went beyond simply cheering Meadows on. It was legitimate for me to have concerns as to whether a Supreme Court justice had been involved in the legally questionable push to overturn the election. Was it possible that one of the country’s nine top judges was on board with an authoritarian interpretation of the Constitution? The implications were overwhelming. Cheney found it all improbable. I think she still had more faith in the institutional GOP than I did at that point.”
Riggleman’s book, The Breach, is on sale now and Raw Story has complete coverage here.
‘Doesn’t Get to Tell the County What They Can Read’: Lawmaker Blasts Christian in Viral Video Attacking LGBTQ Library Books
A Tennessee Democratic state lawmaker is responding to a viral video of a Christian woman in her home state railing against “perversion,” apparently upset with LGBTQ-themed books being in a local public library, while ranting about Satan and “revelation prophecies.”
Rep. Gloria Johnson, a retired special ed teacher, blasted the young woman who spoke in the video for about three minutes berating, lecturing, and preaching to her fellow Maury County, Tennessee residents about books she believes the public library should not have.
After introducing herself as “Stephanie” (her last name was not discernible), the young woman in the undated video declares, “I speak on behalf of God Almighty, my husband, the daughter in my womb and every law abiding God fearing taxpaying citizen here in Maury County.”
She admitted she is not from Maury County, but she did feel very comfortable telling Maury County locals what to do and think.
“We moved here from Indiana to start our family,” she said. “I will not raise kids in a county that has sexual oriented books on the counter,” she insisted, later stating, “My taxes pay [for] this place.”
“The kingdom of God is within reach,” Stephanie went on to preach. “It is within here and we live not for heaven but from heaven. What that means is when perversion permeates our county, that is when the devil gets our children. If you don’t see this you are blind. We must understand that there cannot be perversion in this county, in this country. Obviously revelation prophecies are occurring right before our eyes. But what you need to know first and foremost, that obviously the future generation is our children.”
By the end of her lengthy rant she decreed, “God sees everything and by the grace of God, we will rise above this, but I’m not gonna let my children be raised – I’m gonna homeschool, you better believe it. I will not let my children be raised in a county like this. If we’re having sexual oriented books. You can even ask the gay community, a lot of them say why would you want to bring kids to the bars? They already think of pedophilia, why would you want them to come to the bars?”
“Understand that you serve our country second. You serve our God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob first,” she concluded.
She also flew into a false screed straight out of recent Fox News reports.
Saying, “I speak on behalf of millennials my generation,” she claimed, “We already have so many illegal aliens here who are bringing fentanyl they are killing our children, our youth.”
A right-wing think tank, the Cato Institute states: “Fentanyl is primarily trafficked by U.S. citizens.”
Rep. Johnson, who served in the Tennessee state House from 2013-2015, and is again serving, since 2019, also served up strong criticism against the woman in the video.
“She is welcome to monitor the books her children read, but she doesn’t get to tell the rest of the county what they can read,” Johnson tweeted.
Johnson is apparently a strong supporter of public libraries. This was posted to her Facebook page just days ago:
Watch the viral video below or at this link.
A Christian woman in Maury County, Tennessee argues against LGBTQ-themed books at her library and tells everyone they’re going to hell pic.twitter.com/F6McXs8Gs4
— Marjorie Gaylor Queen 🏳️🌈 (@Tim_Tweeted) September 28, 2022
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