Meteorologist Mandy Bailey has been fired from Oklahoma’s KWSO 7News — prompting a huge backlash from viewers.
Bailey was dismissed just hours after she played a “mind mixer” word game on air, asking viewers to guess the answer to a conundrum showing the word “THERE’ with a hangman’s noose hanging off the letter ‘T’.
The answer was “hang in there”, but the game prompted complaints from some viewers who branded it “inappropriate” and linked it to racism.
KWSO 7News later announced Bailey’s dismissal on their Facebook page, saying she had been “terminated immediately”.
They wrote: “On Monday morning, one of our employees at KSWO-TV displayed an image that was offensive and unacceptable.
“At KSWO, we do not tolerate behavior of any kind that depicts hatred, social injustice, racism or anti-Semitism. The employee responsible was terminated immediately.
“On behalf of all of the employees at KSWO, we offer you our sincere, heart-felt apology with a promise that we will continue to work tirelessly to earn your trust every day.”
However, the move has sparked a huge backlash online, with thousands of people commenting on the post in support of Bailey.
One comment from a local business owner, liked more than 1,000 times, reads: “I am pulling my advertising.”
Another person added: “Everyone saying bring Mandy back. Yeah, KSWO7News did her wrong, but at this point why would she wanna come back to work for them? They just proved they wont support an employee. Who would want to work for an employer like that.”
One person wrote: “I bet there are more offended by this action then those offended by the picture.”
Many others messaged the network directly on their social media pages, with many sharing an image adorned with the words ‘BRING MANDY BACK’. One person person said: “Have unfollowed your page and will not be watching anymore. This is one of the craziest things ever!”
Another added: “Glad to see your news page has dropped by well over 1000 followers. I hope it continues to drop. I for one won’t follow your station any further for ruining a young womans career & tarnishing her name all for the sake of a game that your management has them do on tv, which means you would have approved it. Maybe you need new management!”
One person wrote: Is the management at KSWO out of their ever loving mimds??!!!! How could you fire Mandy Bailey over a totally innocent puzzle????? She was a ray of sunshine, and a total joy to watch!!!!”
Another said: “So who ACTUALLY drew the brain teaser? And if you guys believe so wholeheartedly that it was offensive to the point where you FIRED her, then who approved it???”
A group set up titled “BOYCOTT KSWO” had nearly 2,000 members at the time of writing.