KSWO News, a broadcast TV station out of Lawton, announced the firing of meteorologist Mandy Bailey Monday after receiving complaints that the brain teaser she showed on air was inappropriate and racially insensitive.
The brain teaser read “THERE” with a noose hanging between the “T” and the “H,” to represent “hang in there.”
“On Monday morning, one of our employees at KSWO-TV displayed an image that was offensive and unacceptable,” reads a statement from KSWO Management on Facebook. “At KSWO, we do not tolerate behavior of any kind that depicts hatred, social injustice, racism or anti-Semitism. The employee responsible was terminated immediately. On behalf of all of the employees at KSWO, we offer you our sincere, heart-felt apology with a promise that we will continue to work tirelessly to earn your trust every day.”
Since the firing, KSWO has received thousands of messages and social media comments, some of which express anger about Bailey's actions and others which are asking to “Bring Mandy back.”
Bailey's staff page has been removed from KSWO's website. Her professional Facebook page and any mention of her former employer on her personal social media bios also has been removed.
“The LOW today is that Mandy has been fired … this will affect the rest of her life! Shame on you KSWO,” reads a comment on KSWO’s Facebook page. Others show memes of Bailey reading “Bring Mandy Back” or memes of a noose in a tree with the KSWO logo inside of it.
In another attempt to “Bring Mandy back,” a group of people have started a “Boycott KSWO” page on Facebook, which by 4:40 p.m. Feb. 12 had 2,775 members.
“This page is simply for holding KSWO accountable for firing (SIC) Mandy fired,” reads the description on the Boycott KSWO Facebook page. “Any racist comments will be deleted and you will be blocked, that being said share our link and page everywhere and invite your friends and family and let’s show how Lawton can come together as a community!”
Backers of Bailey have also started a change.org petition to “Bring Mandy back” which has gained 1,185 signatures as of 4:40 p.m. Feb. 12.