[Pittsburgh, PA] The situation in Pittsburgh is being described as critical after the firing of a high-profile news personality pitted city residents against one another. Outspoken former WTAE anchor Wendy Bell, who was fired after a week of controversy about a blog post, has a large public following that easily outstrips that of other local news personalities. Though people quickly took sides on social media over her dismissal, initial damage was limited to FB friends lists being purged of those who did not share the account owners pro- or anti-Bell position.
Then Bell herself commented on her firing, referring to ‘action being needed’ and ‘war-torn communities’ in the context of existing violence. This was unfortunately misinterpreted by her followers as a call to arms to rectify the injustice of her firing – by force if necessary. Pro-Bell forces began by occupying SouthSide Works, which contains Pittsburgh’s only Cheesecake Factory restaurant, already an iconic site in the foundation story of the insurrection.
There followed a call to all loyal Wendy-ites to demonstrate their support by visiting the area and spending their cash in its many bars and restaurants. Service industry workers of African-American lineage who are employed there describe the development as a mixed blessing.
“On the one hand business is way up and I’m getting lots of tips and compliments from these new customers. On the other hand it feels slightly condescending and I’m pretty sure none of them want me dating their daughter.”
The Hot Metal Bridge was closed off to prevent the civil disobedience spreading to the University district of Oakland. But as pro-Bell forces moved down Carson Street, they took advantage of the fact that the 10th Street Bridge was still open to launch an offensive to take Downtown. This was quickly opposed by those who agreed with her firing, leading to open street battles centered on the City-County building.
A reporter from rival station KDKA that is located in the midst of the fighting describes the situation as nothing less than a full-scale Civil War.
“Being that this is Southwestern PA, both sides have access to powerful guns and large quantities of tannerite, making them better armed than many belligerents in wars between sovereign nations.”
Related: Are you a racist? Find out with our exclusive Reaction To WTAE Firing Wendy Bell Racism Test.