Lawton Meteorologist fired over “Offensive and Unacceptable” brain teaser puzzle

There’s a messy media controversy brewing in Lawton.

On Monday morning – while desperately thinking for ways to keep viewers entertained between commercials – Lawton’s KSWO 7 ran a brain teaser game called “Mind Mixer.” It’s a gimmicky segment where someone in the studio tries to stump their co-anchors and viewers at home with a riddle or puzzle drawn on a whiteboard.

Here’s what Meteorologist Mandy Bailey – the Emily Sutton of Oklahoma’s armpit – came up with in the year 2019, an overly sensitive time that’s defined by outrage and overreaction.

For the easily stumped – or those who are thrown off by the well-known symbol of racism hanging from the T – the answer is “Hang In There.” Get it. Noose. Hang. There. Mind mixed, huh?

Naturally, the “mind mixer” got the attention of those who instantly associate any reference to a noose, regardless of context or intent, with bigotry and racism. This, of course, is thanks to thousands and thousands of lynchings that have terrorized black Americans throughout this country’s history, and the continued use of the noose as a symbol of hate by white supremacists.

I guess a few viewers complained to KSWO about the mind mixer mix up, and by 9pm last night, the station’s management issued the following statement on Facebook:

Yep, they fired Mandy for the “offensive and unacceptable” image. This sent the Lawton community into an outrage that hasn’t been seen since KSWO fired David Bradley about a year ago.

They quickly rallied to Mandy’s defense, creating a “Boycott KSWO” Facebook group, flooding the station with angry comments, and calling for Mandy to get her job back.

Here’s a sampling:

Things got so bad that even the local Farmers Insurance agent threatened to pull all his advertising!

Yep, Mandy needs their support. My advice would be for her to hang in there. Maybe Gateway Pundit will open a weather forecasting department. I’m sure they’d love to have her.

Anyway, I have conflicting feelings about this whole thing….

Although I can’t stand political correctness and doubt there was any ill intent on Mandy’s part, she has to accept some responsibility for the gaffe. In today’s day and age, you can’t be that tone-deaf and oblivious to the world and still expect to work in mainstream broadcast news. That whole field is developing a zero tolerance policy to anything that might even slightly resemble racism, regardless of context or intent. Just ask that weatherman from Philly about it.

That being said, it does feel like KSWO overreacted a bit. Granted, maybe Mandy was already on thin ice or perhaps there’s something going on behind the scenes that we don’t know about. But did she really deserve to lose her job? Wouldn’t an on-air apology have sufficed? You know, something like…

“On yesterday’s Mind Mixer segment, we inadvertently showed a puzzle that upset many viewers.  We apologize for this mistake, and regret it happened. Now let’s go to Mike with this morning’s Hangman Puzzle, brought to you by our friend Robert Brown with Farmers Insurance.”


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46 Responses

  1. Several years back under different ownership, this same station ran a way-too-long puff piece on the Ku Klux Klan, complete with a guy in full, hooded regalia explaining how misunderstood they were and how it is now a kinder, gentler, heritage-oriented KKK. It looked to be Klan produced. No repercussions.

    Seems they’ve gone from one extreme to the other.

  2. God help anyone who makes the mistake of playing the game Hang Man on a piece of paper, too!

    1. I would even dare say that the “hangman’s noose” is much more identified with the Old West in Oklahoma rather than racial lynching. Watch any western, ever.

      With that being said, even in our current PC culture a simple “My bad, I didn’t think of context in the moment” should have sufficed.

    2. Couldn’t agree more!

    3. Same thing I thought, no more playing hangman. This is quite the overreaction. It’s also hard for me to understand someone claiming to hate political correctness yet is torn on this issue.

  3. Long live weather dongs!

  4. May I suggest a coat hanger next time?

    1. Better not. Considering the abortion connotations I suspect that would offend some.

    2. Think about it…. if she used a coat hanger… hanger there…. hang her there. I feel like that would have made it a million times worse.

  5. Mostly I believe that “political correctness” is nothing more than treating others with respect and that those who, out of sheer orneriness, fail to treat others with respect deserve the shaming that they get from the “PC” crowd. That said, this treatment of Molly is beyond stupid.

    Hanging and nooses exist in a lot more contexts than the once popular rituals, attended by enthusiastic crowds, of lynching in the American South to keep “uppity” African-Americans terrorized and “in their place.” Hanging as a form of execution is mentioned as far back as The Odyssey, has been similarly used all over the world, and was used as a form of state-sponsored execution right here in America well into the 20th Century.

    You can hardly watch a Western or a show about pre-1900 Britain without hanging being discussed… or shown! I don’t recall anyone complaining about those things, or about when Iraq used a noose to hang Saddam Hussein “by his neck until dead.”

    So what about Molly’s joke implied the extrajudicial “Strange Fruit” context of hanging? Anyone?

    I encourage Molly to find a good attorney and then sue the bejezus out of her former employer. If she does, she will be a very wealthy lady before long. Maybe even wind up owning a certain TV station where she could fire its current management while vacuuming up the contents of their bank accounts and collecting the keys to their houses.

    1. Mandy not Molly.

    2. Employment at will in Oklahoma, she can be fired for anything, or for no reason. She might even have a clause in her contract where she can be terminated if she were to do something that could damage the reputation of the station. Management probably thought the firing would make them look better, and they probably find a new person to do the weather for even less money, so it was a win-win for the station.

      However Lawton is a 148th market (out of 210). Pretty small potato, she’ll probably land in a larger market if she still wants to be in “the biz.” Otherwise pretty much any other job outside of Oklahoma will pay her more with far more job security.

    3. I agree! What is wrong with these people. We were playing hangman years and years ago and never thought it was about race. What about all the white horse thieves they hung years ago. Just can’t figure out where all these people get this stuff. It is wrong wrong wrong that they fired her over this and I agree with the one on here that said she should get a lawyer and go after the station. We have quit watching the station and it was our go to news. Won’t be using any of their sponsors either. Go get them Mandy!!

  6. Lawton has their own local news? Huh.

  7. I thought all you Trumptard libertarian knuckle draggers supported businesses doing whatever the hell they want to employees. #righttowork

    1. What the hell does this have to do with anything?

    2. Maybe they can fix your unintelligible comment in editing.

      1. Yeah. It was pretty bad.

  8. She’s blonde. What do you expect?

  9. If everything is going to be politically correct now days then change the names of sports teams
    Every time some sports anchor mentions the Washington Redskins it’s offensive to someone

    1. That’s an ongoing battle. Who will finally win is still very much anyones guess.

  10. Let’s not forget that Brian Davis was fired for saying “cotton pickin”. This is a very weird world we live in.

  11. Wow everyone’s so offended these days it’s not even funny. I mean if it had something to do with what happened to white people no one would have said anything but because of a noose they lose it. Grow up and actually complain about something that really matters like the face our troops are being killed over seas. Always something.

  12. This is absurd. I shall never again turn my antenna toward that horrid local tv station.

    No, it isn’t even a close call. When was the last lynching? When was the last hanging, the 60s? There is no reason to be so sensitive about this.

    People who are butthurt over this should KTS now, because it only gets worse.

    White people are creating all his ridiculous shit. Stop it now, or I’m leaving the race.

    1. Could that be the human race…..

      1. Why no….he’s talking about the 400 meter race, formerly known as the 440 yd dash!

  13. How else do you draw the word hang?

    1. You Trumptards seem to think that it’s okay for big business ( and government) to run roughshod over employee rights. You bust unions, you elect governors who take executive actions to keep wages low, you elect politicians who support regressive taxes. Now, you ask cry like snowflakes when KSWO exercises employment at will. You libertarian types made this bed. Wallow in it.

  14. A couple of years ago Ms. Bailey posed holding a rattlesnake. I guess she wanted to show how fearless she was. Some people got upset when they found out the snake had its fangs removed and its mouth sewn up so the picture could be taken. Evidently this was not an offense that one could get fired from KSWO.

    1. Its not like she had them personally de-fang the snake and have its mouth sewn closed just for her. It was already like that so people could pose with the snake. Do condemn Mandy for doing what the station told her to do/ what she had no control over. (Please note I’m not saying that it was right for them to do that, but Mandy literally had nothing to do with it.)

  15. Hanging. It’s been a horrible blight of human interaction for thousands of years. This is not racism.

  16. Oh gawd what a stupid mistake KSWO.
    I don’t know what you thought the intended effect would be, but all it will do is rile up the “Gdamn PC police librul snowflakes …rabble..rabble…rabble.”
    Just eat it and hire her back immediately. No one, I doubt even the person who complained (who was that anyway?) sees this as a fireable offense.
    Dumb. ..dumb..dumb..

  17. Well, i would be fired too because I associate a hangman’s noose with the Wild West. What’s gotten into people? Life is one big game of gotcha now. People have to stand up and stop this craziness

  18. I feel your pain Mandy… Having been a previous employee @ KSWO many moons ago… I was “factiously cornered” into a false allegation in which I immediately responded to my inquiring supervisor… “I guess we will need to take this situation up and discuss it further with my attorney”… I could not believe a certain individual from the newsroom fabricated a scenario in which she was not even present to see and went straight to HR and my immediate supervisor and made this fabrication up… Needless to say.. The next day I gave my supervisor my 10 days notice and left that backstabbing organization… Life’s been good ever since 🙂

  19. I say boycott KSWO, to much political correctness. and most news now days is Mickey Mouse news

  20. Do these people not run these segments by each other before airing? Improv is not a strong suit of most meteorologists & news anchors. It kinda sucks that they’re expected to be comedians, serious journalists & benign friendly personalities all rolled into one.

    It looks like a lot of the 4, 5 & 9 anchors LIVE in the studio & are forced to constantly do “Facebook Live” crap… not a job I’d want. They rarely get to be “off”. And the news women clearly get a lot more crap than the males in this state (see: Lacey Swope’s firing by Gary England for doing something 90% of the men in this state do for fun–hunting). Meanwhile Mike Morgan can lead a string of people to their deaths by telling them to outrun a tornado without being fired. Every lead meteorologist is a dude here, which is not the norm in other states.

    That said, this was not the brightest choice for a public figure in a state that’s constantly in the national news for blackface, Klan activity & other racist scandals weekly. At best, it alludes to suicide or public hangings, which are violent acts. At worst…well, it conjures up a painful past of lynching & hanging Blacks when juxtaposed with this blonde, white lady’s smirking countenance. There’s really nothing funny about a noose unless you have a dark sense of humor–something that’s not really welcome on the local news.

    1. do you understand the meaning of the word “context”? how else would you transcribe the phrase “Hang in there”? shame on her for not taking into consideration the current ultra PC atmosphere.

  21. I am shocked, Patrick, that you didn’t get in to the locally owned or out of state ownership issue first and foremost!

  22. People with nothing better to do than be offended about something get their way…again.

  23. If people who were offended were allowed to apply this standard of conduct punishment to TLO it wouldn’t be here .

    A slippery slope indeed.

  24. I guess KSWO will never show the Clint Eastwood movie “Hang ‘Em High” –

    Google image search that title for an example of how time has changed the perception of what is acceptable. The promotional posters for the movie are interesting in the context of today’s standards.

    1. Won’t show “The Hanging Tree” either. Matter of fact, the State should just forget administering drugs to execute convicts and hang those put to death! All executions would be by hanging. Hangings could be advertised as “coming events” with fireworks and refreshments at Big Mac. The State could charge admission and sell the refreshments (ala football games) and give the proceeds to education.

      1. I like the idea of public hangings for death row inmates and charging admission. I mean, if we are going to Okie, by God lets Okie!

  25. This was more bad timing and obliviousness than anything malicious, and certainly shouldn’t have been a fireable offense unless there was more to this than just this one incident. A noose in certain contexts can be considered racist, but certainly not in every context or every situation.

  26. This is totally stupid! Why can’t we just get back to having fun and stop making everything about racism?

  27. Give Mandy job back! This is not about race. I see i t as a symbol meaning hang in there.

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