Brittany Noble was anchoring the morning newscasts at Nexstars WJTV (Jackson, MS) when suddenly she was gone from the station.
Now, Noble has penned a piece on Medium that explains why she is not on the air and calls out WJTV’s owner Nexstar.
She writes, “I pray that by sharing my experience, it helps news corporations understand our responsibility to America.”
She then goes onto say:
“Under the direction of my mentor an Executive at CBS, I filed a complaint with the HR department at WJTV the CBS station in Jackson, Mississippi. He told me “They don’t want a Megan Kelly.” But, maybe because I don’t look like her, my corporation didn’t take my complaint seriously. I stood up for myself because I knew WJTV was working to build a case against me and I wanted to protect my family. I also wanted our parent company Nexstar to be aware of the problems I faced as a young black mother while collecting their paycheck.
Because I spoke up about the internal problems I faced in the WJTV newsroom- I was terminated while using my own sick time to care for my dying grandfather who raised me and shared my birthday. After an 8-month long job search, I still can’t find a job. Thankfully I have my peace of mind, and I hope in sharing my story — it opens the hearts and minds of readers to affect change.
I was hired at WJTV after breaking one of the biggest stories of the decade. The officer involved shooting death of a teen named Mike Brown in my Ferguson, Missouri neighborhood. His death sparked change and helped ignite the “Black Lives Matter” movement that we know today.
However, when I pitched stories about race in Mississippi, I was told the stories “are not for all people.” My boss constantly complained about the “types” of stories I pitched and shared on my personal social media accounts. He explained over and over that he didn’t want my brand to grow and denied me the basic necessities to properly anchor “WJTV This Morning,” such as access to review scripts on the desk before I was forced to read them on air.
Let’s be clear my look has never been unprofessional on TV. But my boss would invite me into his office for closed-door meetings where he got away with saying extremely unprofessional comments. After having my son, I asked my news director if I could stop straightening my hair. A month after giving me the green light I was pulled back into his office. I was told “My natural hair is unprofessional and the equivalent to him throwing on a baseball cap to go to the grocery store. He said “Mississippi viewers needed to see a beauty queen.” He even asked, “why my hair doesn’t lay flat.” When I asked him how I should address the change on social media he told me to write “I was told to change my hair back to the way it was because that’s what looks best.” I chose not to post his suggested line because it would be hurtful to other black women who share my 3c hair texture. I admit I am tired of changing my voice and wearing a wig in order to report on TV.”
She went on to say that WJTV is “stuck in 1953” and then goes on to ask for money, writing, “For the first time in my life, I collected unemployment but the money has run out. Despite my love for journalism, I’ve been looking outside of my field for a full-time job. Find me on social media, alike and follow is absolutely free and it goes a long way. If you would like to support me financially and my goal to report stories about people of color on a national level, check out my website www.thenoblejournalist.com and preorder your #blackjournalistsmatter shirts.”
You can read her full post here.