‘Shoot on sight:’ Radio host suspended after encouraging violence against monument vandals

A Pennsylvania radio host has been suspended after suggesting anti-Confederate demonstrators should be shot when actively vandalizing Confederate monuments.

Wendy Bell, known for being a controversial radio personality, was removed from Pittsburgh-based KDKA-AM’s website and on-air schedule after comments she made during a June 26 episode of her show gained attention online this week.

Bell weighed in on protesters’ claims that Mount Rushmore is problematic during heightened tensions and conversations about race relations in the U.S. The carving features George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who each owned over 300 slaves, the most of all presidents.

“My easy solution for the park rangers, and hopefully snipers who are hopefully going to be watching for this, is to shoot on sight,” Bell said, making shooting noises. “Shoot. Done. No more messing with monuments. You want to mess with a monument? Done.”

In the wake of Bell’s comments, multiple advertisers pulled ads from her show, and critics started an online petition to have her removed from the radio station, the Pittsburgh City Paper reported.

Entercom, the company that owns KDKA Radio, announced this week that Bell has been taken off air until further notice.

“Entercom is home to thousands of voices representing Americans of all races, ethnicities, gender identity, sexual orientation, beliefs and ability,” the company said in a statement this week. “We take very seriously our responsibility to provide a platform for our communities to engage in diverse and meaningful dialogue, debate and the right to freedom of speech. We do not condone the incitement of violence on any of our platforms. Members of our community have recently brought to our attention comments made by Wendy Bell that do not align with Entercom’s values. Wendy has been taken off air until further notice.”

Bell was fired from a previous role as a news anchor at a television station where she had worked for more than 17 years after she wrote comments on Facebook that were “inconsistent with the company’s ethics and journalistic standards,” the Tribune-Review reported.

She alleged that a shooting that had taken place in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, in 2016 was likely committed by “young Black men, likely teens or in their early 20s ... with multiple siblings from multiple fathers and their mothers work multiple jobs.”

“These boys have been in the system before. They’ve grown up there. They know the police. They’ve been arrested. They’ve made the circuit and nothing has scared them enough. Now they are lost,” she wrote.

Police had not yet made any arrests.

In Bell’s post, which was published on her professional Facebook page, she went on to say that a young Black busboy she had seen cleaning and working hard at a restaurant was an example of “hope” in the neighborhood and that he was “going to make it.”

Critics said the remarks were blatantly racist.