Earlier this year, Ruby Hamad wrote an article that struck a nerve. “How white women use strategic tears to silence women of colour,” published by the Guardian, delved into the ways white women weaponized their emotions against their women of color counterparts when they aired legitimate grievances.
Many women of color shared the article, some adding their own experiences with the phenomenon. Among the women who shared the piece was a Kansas City television reporter, Lisa Benson, who says she was fired from her job after two white women took offense to the article, which was posted on her Facebook account.
As the Kansas City Star reports, Benson’s case has received renewed attention after Hamad wrote a series of Twitter posts about it on Monday.
“I have just been informed a [woman of color] got fired for sharing my white tears article,” Hamad wrote.
“Lisa shared this piece on her PERSONAL Facebook page which is set to private. Two white female colleagues saw her post, which she tells me she shared in the hopes of ‘starting a conversation’ & ‘hopefully enlighten people’ about her own [and] other WoC’s experiences. They contacted HR,” she added in a subsequent tweet.
Nearly two months ago, Benson shared a Facebook post sharing that she had been let go from KSHB TV.
“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.”
Benson didn’t disclose which article it was at the time.
According to a previous Star report, Benson had alleged her former employer discriminated against her long before the “white tears” article was posted. Last year, she filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging that her race was “constantly used” in deciding which stories she’d be reporting.
According the Star, the suit alleges Benson was “consistently” sent to the city’s “urban core” for all her stories and was once sent alone to interview a KKK member in their home. The suit also claims that, despite more than 10 years at the company and “numerous” applications filed by Benson, KSHB TV opted instead to promote white colleagues with less experience than she.
When she brought this treatment up to superiors, Benson says she was punished.
From the Star:
After raising concerns about the way she was being treated in 2015, Benson was suspended without pay for two days for what she was told was “combative” behavior with a supervisor. In her suit, Benson said her behavior during the meeting was respectful.
This isn’t KSHB TV’s only allegation of racial discrimination from a black employee. This year, sports reporter Demetrice “Dee” Jackson also sued the station, claiming that he was “twice passed over for sports director after management led him to believe he would get that job,” writes the star.
Benson’s racial discrimination suit is currently pending in federal court.