Charlotte Station Addresses Concerns Over Photog Whistling ‘Dixie’ in Newsroom

By Kevin Eck 

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The Charlotte Observer reports, local CBS affiliate WBTV had to address staff concerns after a photographer was heard whistling the tune “Dixie” in the newsroom.

The song, which is best known as being an anthem of confederate troops during the Civil War, is often considered offensive and racist.

On Thursday, two meetings were held with staffers and WBTV general manager Nick Simonette and news director Dennis Milligan.

“We wanted the staff to know that we don’t tolerate things in the workplace that make people uncomfortable,” Milligan said. “We encourage people to come forward. I think it was handled in an appropriate way.”

Milligan said the matter was a personnel issue and he could not comment further on whether any disciplinary action was taken. He did say that the incident was an “extremely unusual” one in the station’s newsroom.

Alexis Mitchell, president of the Charlotte Area Association of Black Journalists, a chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, issued a statement calling the situation “unfortunate.”

“I am grateful that our station’s management addressed the issue immediately,” said Mitchell, a news content specialist at WBTV who was in the newsroom when the incident occurred. She said the local chapter and the national organization would continue to monitor the station’s response.

“This is a learning lesson for all and we hope this will never occur again.”