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After 15 years on the air, WJZ anchorwoman Mary Bubala has been fired.

Bubala came under fire last Thursday (May 2) for a question she asked about the race, gender and leadership of Baltimore’s past three mayors. In a clip that’s circulating around social media, Bubala said to Loyola University Maryland Professor Karsonya “Kaye” Wise Whitehead, “We’ve had three female, African-American mayors in a row. They were all passionate public servants. Two resigned, though. Is this a signal that a different kind of leadership is needed to move Baltimore City forward?”

During that segment, Whitehead was very clear in saying no, it does not suggest a different kind of leadership is needed. Video of the incident made its way on the web via Nicki Mayo, who worked in TV news and is immediate past president of the Baltimore Association of Black Journalists (BABJ. The social media response was fast and fierce.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Audra Swain confirmed Bubala’s termination in an email late Monday.

“Mary Bubala is no longer a WJZ-TV employee. The station apologizes to its viewers for her remarks,” the statement said. Swain declined to comment further.

In another statement sent in the wake of WJZ’s action, Professor Whitehead wrote, “The current conversations around leadership in Baltimore are challenging, emotional, and at times include layers of racism and sexism. There is an assumption that since three black women have served as mayor — and the city has not entirely changed for the better — then perhaps black women are not fit to lead this city. No one can ask racially biased questions in the public sphere — including in the media — without being held accountable.”

Bubala apologized on Twitter on Thursday and Friday. See below.

“In my 22 years of working in TV news in Baltimore — 15 of those years with WJZ — I have always treated people with the utmost respect and dignity. I loved my job because I love the people of Baltimore.

“Last week I realized I made a mistake in the language I used on air. I immediately apologized for any hurt I unintentionally caused. I received immediate support from WJZ because they knew it was not in my heart to intentionally cause this kind of harm. I wanted to do an on-air apology but was not allowed. I hope that the people of Baltimore know that I would never do anything to hurt anyone.

“Unfortunately, I now stand in the path of the tornado. WJZ was forced to let me go. I am saddened and shocked by this decision. Baltimore City has been my home for 25 years and I treasure and am so grateful for the relationships I have made with the people of Baltimore during this time. I fully intend to fight to restore my reputation because I’ve invested my heart and soul in my work and my city. Thank you Baltimore for all of your support during this difficult period of time. It means so much to me.”

Source: Baltimore Sun

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