A veteran anchor of a Mississippi TV news station is off the air after repeating a phrase by rapper Snoop Dogg that includes slang for the N-word.
Journalist and meteorologist Barbie Bassett no longer is listed as a member of the WLBT-TV news team, the Clarion Ledger reported, adding that “social media reports suggest she has been removed from her morning anchor position for racially insensitive comments.”
What did she say?
The paper said Bassett’s on-air comments in question followed a story about Snoop Dogg’s Snoop Cali Blanc, one of his wines. A clip showing chatter between anchors included Bassett repeating a Snoop Dogg phrase, “Fo shizzle, my nizzle.” The last word in the phrase is said to be slang for the N-word.
The Ledger said the broadcast in question reportedly took place in early March and that Bassett hasn’t appeared on WLBT since March 8. She has removed mentions of WLBT from her Facebook page, the Ledger also noted.
The paper said WLBT officials did not return phone calls, emails, or texts related to Bassett’s status. Station vice president and general manager Ted Fortenberry said in a social media message, “As I am sure you can understand, WLBT is unable to comment on personnel matters,” the Ledger reported.
On-air employees declined to comment and directed all questions to management, the paper said, adding that Bassett didn’t respond to direct messages on Twitter, Facebook, and her personal website.
A separate incident
Bassett was reprimanded in October for “insensitive comments,” the Ledger said. According to the New York Post, she referenced a black reporter’s “grandmammy” on air.
Afterward Bassett apologized, the Ledger said: “Last Friday on our newscast ‘Today at 11,’ I used a term that was offensive to many in our audience and to my coworkers here at WLBT. Though not intentional, I now understand how my comment was both insensitive and hurtful. I have apologized to Carmen Poe. Now, I would like to apologize to you. That is not the heart of who I am. And for that, I humbly ask for your forgiveness and I apologize to everyone I have offended. I will learn from this and participate in training so I can better understand our history and our people. I can’t mend the hurt my comment caused. I pray you’ll forgive me and that you’ll extend grace through this awful mistake.”
What has been the reaction?
While a number of commenters on Bassett’s Facebook page reveled in her removal from the broadcast desk, radio host Charlamagne Tha God — who is black — came to Bassett’s defense.
“She can’t say, ‘Fo shizzle, my nizzle?’ Oh, I guess ’cause nizzle is a derivative of the N-word,” Charlamagne said during a recent broadcast of his program, “The Breakfast Club,” according to Mediaite.
The host added that “she might not even know what ‘Nizzle’ means, yo … that’s not a fireable offense. I hope she sues,” the outlet reported.
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