*Well, ain’t this about blip as they say. We’re referring to what happened to Lisa Benson Cooper, a TV news reporter in Kansas City who claims she was was initially suspended and subsequently fired after sharing an article about white women’s privilege to her Facebook page.
Cooper, who had already filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against KSHB-TV shared a May 7 article for The Guardian called “How white women use strategic tears to silence women of colour.”
If you’re wondering, the article explored how white women victimize themselves when challenged by women of color. The article’s writer, Ruby Hamad, heard about Cooper’s suspension and used her platform on Twitter to bring awareness to her situation, reported the Kansas City Star.
“On May 9th, Lisa shared this piece I wrote for The Guardian, about a common but only recently voiced phenomenon where WoC who raise issues about race & their mistreatment esp. at work are punished by white women who claim the WoC is ‘attacking’ them,” Ruby Hamad tweeted Monday.
“Lisa shared this piece on her PERSONAL Facebook page which is set to private. Two white female colleagues saw her post,” Hamad tweeted. “They contacted HR.”
Hamad added that Cooper was suspended two days later for making “broad, unfair characterizations of white women as a group based on their race and gender.”
But on June 13, Cooper revealed she was no longer a reporter for 41 Action News.
“I want you to know, I did not quit my job 41 Action News — KSHB-TV,” she wrote on Facebook. “I was suspended for sharing a meme & a Guardian US article on my personal FB page and subsequently told I ‘shall not report to work’ for the duration of my contract.”
As far as KSHB is concerned, the station is denying Benson’s allegations of discrimination.
“We can confirm that, in line with its contractual rights, KSHB did not renew Lisa Benson’s contract,” News Director Carrie Hofmann said. “We cannot comment on pending litigation. We stand by our commitment to diversity and inclusion in our workplace.”
Cooper’s lawsuit, which was moved to federal court from Jackson County Circuit Court, also alleges her race was “constantly used” in deciding which stories she would cover. She said she was consistently assigned to urban core stories and was once sent alone to interview a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Meanwhile, Hamad feels guilty that the article may have led to Cooper’s firing.
“It’s the kind of feeling that can very quickly spiral into hopeless and defeat if you let it take over,” Hamad told The Star. “So I reminded myself that this sort of self-blame is exactly what (people of color) are socialized to feel when we challenge the system.”