Rhonda Lee Fired For Defending Hair on Facebook, Meteorologist's Fans Lash Out

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Louisiana meteorologist Rhonda Lee defended her short hair after being insulted on Facebook, only to be fired ... and receive a groundswell of support online.

A viewer took Lee, of Shreveport's KTBS, to task October 1 for having short hair, rather than for any job-related issues. Lee, 37, responded in the comments.

Instead of backing her up or deleting the offensive post, however, the network fired Lee, saying she had violated the company's unofficial social media policy.

Now, her fans are furious.

Rhonda Lee Photo

Nearly 1,000 people have signed a petition asking that KTBS rehire Lee, saying she was victimized twice, once by the viewer "and again by KTBS."

"Rhonda Lee deserves to have her job back," the petition reads. "Her eloquent response to the bigoted and sexist remarks of viewer Emmitt Vascocu were warranted."

"Employers such as KTBS-TV should stand by their employees and on-air talent whenever they are verbally attacked based on their looks, values or merit."

"I would never have dreamed in a million years that I would get all this support," Lee told the Daily News.

"It's been a tough go at first to not be angry. But mostly I'm just sad. I genuinely loved where I worked. I loved my viewers. I made my home here."

For its part, KTBS says Lee "was not dismissed for her appearance or defending her appearance" but rather for the repeated violation of the company policy.

"Unfortunately, television personalities have long been subject to harsh criticism and negative viewer comments about their appearance and performance," the ABC affiliate said.

"If harsh viewer comments are posted, there is a specific procedure to follow."

Rhonda Lee, however, says she never saw the policy in question, and that when she asked for it following her termination, higher-ups told her no.

KTBS, on the other hand, says Lee received an email outlining the procedure, which states that it is "best not to respond at all" to viewer complaints.

What did Lee write, and in response to what, exactly?

"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 its not something that i think looks good on tv."

Days later, when KTBS still hadn't respond to the Facebook post on its page, 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. 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. As women we 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," the TV personality concluded.

"Little girls (and boys for that matter) growing up in this world need to see that what you look like isn't a reason to not achieve their goals."

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how dare thay fire you instead thay should help to get the people sayin you are ray of sunshine with smile like yours ;-)

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What's really sad is that those knuckleheads haven't heard of 1st amendment. I don't agree with their policy and she was fired for exercising her free speech via interweb. F*ck that. If you was working at a retail store and some guy attacked you, would you fight back or not fight back but get your ass kicked instead (risking your life) because some stupid policy says you can't touch the customer? Yeah, thats what I thought. It's time to start using Common Sense. Sometimes you have to do things even if it goes against the company's policy.

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@ Travis Rashawn Ford

Whe you work for a company they have the say in you future. If you work independently you can do whatever you want. What if a company says no guns on their grounds and you forget you left it in your car and you get fired? Should I be mad at my company for firing for something I know I made the mistake? If you don't like working for a company and being ridiculed by the public then perhaps you should start your own business. She should of went to her boss or HR and said something about the comment not taking the matter into her own hands.

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Must we accept to be ridiculed by the public then pretend it is okay and continue to work for a company that says do not response to the public view {INSULTS} Rhonda deserves better then that,she MUST be reinstated without a disciplinary hearing

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an email that states "it's best not to respond at all" doesn't sound like a serious company policy to me. And her reply was in no way condescending or rude or hurtful. Simply to the point and polite. To be fired over such a tiny offense seems very suspicious. What other motives for her termination are the employers hiding?

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She made a comment against company policy and lost her job for it. It's pretty plain and simple. If she did not know the company policy than that's her fault, arrogance is not an excuse.

Travis-rashawn-ford
@ Mike Adams

Man forget the policy. If someone came to your job and said some really nasty stuff about you, you probably would've done the same thing. Don't be ignorant. She did the right thing.

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The actions of KTBS-Shreveport (an affiliate of ABC) are appalling! It is ridiculous that Ms. Lee’s comments would cause her termination. This kind of discrimination is not right. KTBS's policy is couched in the belief that a slightly different aesthetic viewpoint will harm the socio-economic growth of the station and viewing community. It’s a “Stepford wife” mindset driving an organizational culture that is backwards and demeaning. Both Shreveport and ABC should distance themselves from KTBS and their policy.

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alway's pusing the limit.,.......

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@ baja

and someone needs to push you> I nominate ME!!!!

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@ RON JAY

where is the "h" deep guy?

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