Lisa Benson Cooper, a Black TV reporter, was fired from her job for making her white female colleagues feel uncomfortable about their privilege.
Ruby Hamad, author of
The Guardian article, “How white women use strategic tears to silence women of colour,” heard that Cooper was suspended, then fired, for sharing the article on Facebook. As a result, Hamad has ignited backlash against the Kansas City television news station and it’s picking up steam on social media.
Hamad, who is Arab and lives in Australia, said in a
Twitter post on Monday that two white women, who work at the TV station, saw the article on Cooper’s Facebook page and contacted human resources. She was suspended in May and fired in June for making “made broad, unfair characterizations of white women as a group based on their race and gender.”
Cooper’s June post on
Facebook read: “I want you to know, I did not quit my job 41 Action News — KSHB-TV,” she wrote. “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.”
Cooper was already suing KSHB-TV, an NBC affiliate, for previous acts of racial discrimination, and the
case is pending in federal court.
Twitter erupted, this week, putting Cooper’s story back on the map over three months after it happened, offering support and legal advice, condemning the news station. Even the Kansas City Star chimed in. Hamad also offered guidance to outraged social media:
Many people have asked what they can do to help. Right now, the most productive thing is a call/email/tweet campaign to KSHB-TV & EW Scripps to let them know it’s time to change their workplace culture that diminishes & punishes PoC & esp. WoC for speaking out.
— Ruby Hamad (@rubyhamad)
August 21, 2018
#boycottNBC Protect WOC. Discredit the White women whose fragility aggressively, illegally and intentionally: inspired the retaliatory termination of a Woman of Color colleague. #woc #nbc @maddow @NBCNews #BLM https://t.co/A1SpjAkKmM
— Talcott B (@QualityGender)
August 21, 2018
If she can. Tell her to raise legal fees via @CrowdJustice and sue her former employer. All woc of journalists globally can help spread the news. I want to know who those two white women are.
— Yasmin A. Choudhury (@yasminisyasmin) August 20, 2018
The fact that 2 white women used their tears to weaponize @rubyhamad‘s article about HOW white women weaponize their tears in the workplace and got a Black Woman fired is some sort of #WhiteFeminismTM version of inception. https://t.co/hBNjnwynUo
— LeslieMac (@LeslieMac) August 21, 2018
Hamad who has continued to tweet news articles about Cooper and details of the history of discrimination she faced at the news station with Cooper’s permission, said on twitter, “Pressure and publicity must be maintained,” and suggested hashtag campaigns to keep the issue from being buried. Even Australian media has now covered Cooper’s plight.