Months after asking a question on the air that many decried as racist, and subsequently being fired from WJZ, TV news anchor Mary Bubala has landed at WBFF Fox 45.
She started working at the station as a reporter yesterday, news director Mike Tomko told Baltimore Fishbowl. The Sun first reported the news of her hiring.
During a May 2 live segment on the fallout from former Mayor Catherine Pugh’s resignation in the wake of the “Healthy Holy” children’s book scandal, Bubala asked Loyola University of Maryland professor Kaye Whitehead: “We’ve had three female African-American mayors in a row—they were all passionate public servants, two resigned, though. Is it a signal that a different kind of leadership is needed to move Baltimore City forward?”
A recording of the segment by BET news anchor Andre Showell–with the addition of an incredulous “Oh my God!”–quickly spread, drawing rebukes on social media from Baltimoreans, including a number of journalists.
Shortly after it went viral, Bubala issued a public apology.
“I am so very sorry,” she posted on Twitter. “The way my question came out was not what I intended to ask because race and gender are irrelevant to one’s leadership abilities. I combined two questions in my head during a live interview and said something I didn’t mean to.”
Several days later, the Baltimore Association of Black Journalists issued a statement calling for an on-air apology from Bubala–who, in a longer Facebook post, said she had requested the opportunity to address viewers and was denied–and WJZ.
Her question became a flashpoint in the city, with some commenters calling for her job and others, like this Baltimore Sun reader, labeling it an “honest question.”
On May 7, the station confirmed Bubala was no longer with the network.
Speaking today, Tomko told Baltimore Fishbowl that Fox 45 was impressed with Bubala’s reporting prior to the controversy.
“[T]he nature of live TV invites instances where journalists make mistakes,” he said. “We’ve made the decision to hire Mary based on her impressive body of work covering issues that impact the Baltimore community, rather than a single mistake that she has since apologized for.”
In a statement, WBFF general manager Bill Fanshawe said: “Mary Bubala is a tremendous talent with more than 20 years of experience reporting on issues that matter to the Baltimore community. She has an impressive body of work, and we look forward to having her join our incredible team.”
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